Who are the Professional Photographers who Switched to the Sony A7 Series?

We keep on hearing a lot about the A7 series and that many pros are leaving their beloved DSLRs for this new series of cameras. Especially with the latest announcement with the A7r mark II (7 game changing features of the A7rII) which, undeniably, is a breakthrough in the aging DSLR world. Seeing the A7 mark II (A7II Field test) and now the A7rII, I can’t help thinking that, excepted for the Nikon D810 and the D750, all other DSLRs are now a huge step behind considering the new possibilities and the versatility that this new camera offers.

Canon with its brand new 5Ds and 5Dsr did not really convince anybody. DxOLab said it is Canon’s best score ever but it is still ranked at the 21st position, far behind the Nikon D810 and the Sony A7r. Let’s imagine the score of the A7rII. Phenomenal. Don’t take me wrong though, the 5DIII is still a very good camera, but it needs a major overhaul to fight against the upcoming A7rII. That being said, some professionals have already made the switch seeing the great potential in these new kind of full frame cameras, probably even more once the A7rII will be available. So I wanted to provide an example of some great professional photographers that are pleased with their new system.

“I’ve got the greatest job in the world. My worst days as a photographer might be the greatest days in the lives of many people.” — Brian Smith

sony-a7II-vs-nikon-d810-Nikon d4- iLHP size comparison

Serge Ramelli (his 2 websites here: 1 / 2), Michael Shainblum,  Brian Smith and David Mclain are among these, respectively switching from the Canon 5DIII to the A7r and from the Canon 5DII to the A7s, Brian and David, as Sony Artisans, are using several Sony cameras. Trey Ratcliff is also a fantastic pro photographer shooting with the A7r and the A6000. I’m not talking about Jason Lanier switching from Nikon to the A7s as he is really not my favorite photographer, same for Gary Fong but I put the link and you can check it out for yourself. But besides them, amateurs and enthusiasts photographers switching to the A7 series, there are also more and more “common” professional photographers making the switch like wedding photographers. Will Chao is one of them. He has just switched from the Canon 5DIII, again, to the A7 mark II.

To a lower extent, here at iLHP, as semi-professionals, we were all very early adopters. Edward T., switched from the Canon 5DII to the A7, and Christian Marcel has always been shooting Sony mirrorless switching recently to the A7II.

DXO lab test sony A7II vs Canon 5DIII vs Nikon D610- iLHP

As we talk a lot about professionals switching to the A7 series but never knowing who and what kind of work they achieve, I wanted to unveil some of them and showcase their work here. what does make them interesting? They’re more interested into the results than their cameras. They’re not arguing about this or this feature. They just choose the tool that’s best for them and do their jobs: taking gorgeous and artistic photographs. Of course, there are many other professional photographers using the Sony A7 series but it would be impossible to feature all of them here. This is a round-up of some of them.

Let’s discover these 8 photographers here:

1 – Serge Ramelli is a professional photographer specialized in landscapes, cityscapes and interior designs based in Paris, France, but just moved recently to Los Angeles. By the way you can check out the entirety of his gear here.

He wrote 2 books on Lightroom and Photoshop and have lightroom presets to sell if you are interested. As he often likes to repeat, he likes very dramatic type of photos. That’s what characterizes his style. He now uses the Sony A7r :”which I have come to really love”. He often says in his tutorials on Youtube that he is amazed by the dynamic range offered by this sensor. Unlike the Canon 5DIII “one shot is now enough for a high dynamic landscape image when I needed an exposure bracketing before, which is not very practical.” The 36Mp from this sensor are also an important improvement for him and allows him to recrop a little bit his pictures as he loves the panoramic style without loosing too many pixels. Please check out his gallery on 500px to have an overview of his work.

2 – Michael Shainblum is a professional photographer based in San Francisco, California. He has been a professional photographer for 9 years and a commercialTimelapse photographer for 3 years now.

“I seek to capture the extraordinary and the unique. I find beauty in everything from the scale of our Galaxy to the way sunlight hits a glass of water from behind. In filmmaking and photography possibilities are endless. I strive with every project and photography to push the boundaries of what we think is achievable in these mediums.” As a landscape and astrophotographer, Michael likes to use the phenomenal ISO performances from the A7s. It helps him capture the milky-way without too much noise while editing the picture in Lightroom. he doesn’t talk much about his gear, what matters most is the quality of the picture. Please, be sure to take a look at Michael’s gallery on 500px.

3 – Will Chao is a professional wedding photographer based in Melbourne, Australia. He recently made the move from his Canon 5DIII to theA7II. One of his particularities is that over 90% of his photos are taken with 35mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.2, and 200mm f/2.0, each at its widest aperture setting. He is also one of the few people who use f/1.2 and f/1.4 for group shots. He even shoots at f/0.95 with a Mitakon 50mm f/0.95 which is a manual focus lens. This can be very difficult during a wedding but he says theEVF and the focus peaking make it easier even if it is not 100% accurate.

Here’s what he says about the A7II: “Firstly, I am truly impressed with this camera, it is everything my trusty Canon 5D Mark III is not: it has no focus inaccuracy issues (when using AF lenses), it has a true what-you-see-is-what-you-get viewfinder, and the lightness is just the cherry on top. I am also a proud owner of a 50,000 mAh powerbank so I can charge the camera in the car as I move from location to location. There is no EVF lag what-so-ever with a f/0.95 lens, no matter how dark it is. By the way, did I tell you I can shoot in almost pitch darkness with the combination of such an extreme aperture, great high ISO performance and the 5-axis in-body stabilization?” Please check out his website and portfolio.

4 – Edward T. has been into photography for about 8 years now. He’s based in Los Angeles, California. After having done a lot of travel photography he has specialized himself as a fashion and portrait photographer.He switched from the Canon5DII to theA7 a year ago. His favorite lens is the Zeiss 55mm f/1.8, “its sharpness is amazing.” Edward is always looking for new tools and how to improve.

“The biggest competitive advantage to the A7 series over DSLRs is obviously its form factor. But it’s more than that. I was recently on a beach shooting with another photographer. We were both shooting into the sun with the model backlit by a bright sunset. He was having serious problems composing and focusing with his optical viewfinder whereas the EVF and the A7’s live view made shooting strong backlit portraits a nonissue. The Sony A7 series will only get better with time, as Sony listens to its consumers and aggressively pushes improvements with every iteration. I can’t wait to see what we will be shooting with over the next few years. It’s really exciting.” Please check out his portfolio.

5 – Christian Marcel is a macro and nature photographer based in Boston, Massachusetts but originally from Paris, France. He’s been shooting for 2 years now. Always looking for a story to tell in his photographs, his style is either smooth, minimalist or dramatic.

“The bokeh effects are very important. I mostly shoot wide open, even in my macro shots. The depth of field is reduced to its minimum which is very hard to handle while handheld when shooting insects but it wouldn’t be fun if it was easy! I mostly use a Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro with my A7II. The A7II image quality, ISO performance and dynamic range are excellent. Its ergonomic is perfect to me. The size and the weight is the icing on the cake. This Sigma lens is quite heavy (1.3kg) so it’s like carrying only the lens with me!” He adds that the EVF is better for his work as the focus peaking helps him a lot. Even if the lens is a very quick focusing lens (using the LA-EA4 adapter with the mirror) he has to manually focus most of the time for macro work. “I could not go use an OVF because of this now. You can picture immediately your shot which is awesome!” Please take a look at his gallery to see what he’s up to.

6 – Brian Smith is last in this list but not the least. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer and works with celebrities like Anne Athaway, George Clooney or even Bill Gates! For the past 30 years, Brian Smith’s iconic portraits of famous celebrities, athletes and executives have been used in advertising, by corporations and have graced the covers and pages of hundreds of magazines including Sports Illustrated, ESPN the Magazine, Time, Forbes, New York Times Magazine, Elle and British GQ.

He is also what we call a Sony Artisan. He’s been shooting Sony for a long time and using various cameras including the A7 series of course. You can watch him talk about the new A7rII on Youtube for intance. You can meet him as he has many Speaking Appearences and Talks or if it’s not possible, he also wrote several books. As you can see, he is hyper active and acts in many different types of photography like portraits, of course, corporate and commercial photography but he also has projects in travel photography. Please, check out his compelling website.

7 – David Mclain is also an important Sony Artisan who shoots with various Sony cameras including the A7 and the Alpha99. He lives next to Portland, Maine, in a 220 year-old-farm. He is one of the maine National Geographic photographer but has also worked for several editorial magazines.

He has made his life’s work traveling the globe capturing stunning images. He knows his way around a quality image and what it takes to get one. “My experience as a National Geographic photographer and documentary filmmaker informs my commercial work.   I’ve spent my life capturing real moments and understand how to blend art direction with just the right amount of improvisation.  I’m naturally drawn to brands who have great stories to tell and want to create imagery that makes people feel inspired, not sold to.” Besides the weigh and size that are obviously a big advantage, shooting with the EVF is one of the best features as it opened new possibilities as he is used to say. ” I had to get used to it at the beginning as I was used to shoot for 25 years with an OVF, but the EVF allowed me to shoot in extreme low light and actually see what I was shooting thanks to the incredible sensibility of the sensor.” Please, check out his portfolio here.

8Trey Ratcliff likes to introduce himself as “a warm-hearted, old-school gentleman explorer with really cool toys.” He’s the last of this short list but certainly not the least. He is not a Sony artisan but loves to shoot with Sony mirrorless cameras. His favorite? The A7r, but he also shoots with the A6000 for its extreme portability.

The sharpness of the A7r, thanks to it’s 36mp sensor, is one of its best argument along with it’s size and weight of course. Lucky as he is, he already received the new A7rII before its launch date and here is what he says about it so far: ” I’m working on the A7rII review right now, but just know the main differences are that it is faster, 42 Megapixel (instead of 36), and, most importantly, it has in-body stabilization. AWESOME. This is currently my main camera. I absolutely love it. It has all the power of the giant DSLR systems (editors note: Canon 1D/Nikon D4) at a fraction of the price and size. It’s Full-Frame goodness combined with a small mirrorless form factor gives you everything you need. Plus, the camera smarts inside are absolutely insane”. Check out his website, truly awesome! It’s full of camera and gear reviews, travels and even Youtube tutorials. Please take a look at his portfolio here.

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