As a photographer, nothing is as intimate as the cameras we hold in our hands. These are the tools we use to execute our craft, and they almost become reflections of us. They get us through challenging shoots, and are a familiar face in an unfamiliar place. They bring consistency yet leeway as we push ourselves to constantly refine our visions. They bring us joy when we just nail that shot.
So I tend to put a lot of thought into the cameras I hold, and the lenses I attach to them.
Most of my photographic life, I have been a Canon shooter. This started waaay back in the day when I bought my first Canon EOS 650 - a 35mm SLR - at LeZot Camera in Burlington, Vermont. That camera accompanied me across the country, burning images from Yosemite, Katmai, Yellowstone, the California Coast, and all points in the middle. I even had my own darkroom in my Bay Area apartment and spent many late nights in the dark.
As the technology moved further into the digital space, I sadly left film behind and bought my first digital SLR - a Canon 10D in Anchorage, Alaska. It was a monumental shift in gear for me, yet Canon remained a constant and familiar camera.
For the bulk of my wedding photography days I carried a pair of Canon 5D Mark II bodies and Canon lenses. These were absolute workhorses and performed flawlessly up to the day I sold them.
I was soon on a mission to rethink my entire camera gear strategy.
At the same time, Sony was making waves in the photography World with incredible sensors, and more technology than Canon. To top it off, they were doing it in a smaller, lighter form factor. I did my research and decided to take a huge leap of faith and buy 2 Sony A72 bodies.
But now, a road diverged and sorry I could not travel both, I had to choose my entire lens lineup. I shot primarily with 3 lenses on those 5D Mark IIs - Canon L glass zooms - 16-35 2.8, 24-70 2.8, and the venerable 70-200 2.8.
Sony, while having incredible body technology, was really lagging with their professional lens lineup. The 24-70 2.8 GM was yet to be announced, and the 70-200 was a twinkle in it's daddy's eye with pricing speculated into the $4,000 range. Weddings were approaching. I needed lenses, and I needed a strategy ASAP.
I ended up following my familiar face - and bought the Mark 2 variants of Canon's 70-200 2.8 and the 24-70 2.8. Of course, this required 2 adapters made by Metabones (the version IV). Even with the horror stories I heard about AF performance, once I mated these lenses to my A72s, I was blown away by the performance, color, clarity, and resolution.
Now that my "primary" wedding lenses were locked in, I started to think about the additional glass I wanted to add. The beauty of the Sony mirrorless system is that you can even buy what I call "vintage glass." These are manual focus lenses - typically from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and offer an awesome value and unique characteristics. With an eBay account in hand, had a blast ordering a Konica Hexanon 57mm, a couple of Nikkor lenses, and even a Pentax. Adaptors for these MF lenses are cheap and easy to use.
With this new found brand freedom, I was able to shed the Canon brand loyalty a bit and even look at newcomers in the space - I ordered my first Tilt/Shift from Rokinon and their massive 14mm 2.8.
Critically, I also wanted to insure my choice in Sony. I order any high-value lens in the Canon mount. Just like my Canon lenses, these use the Metabones adapter. This way, should I ever decide to swap bodies back to Canon - I don't need to buy new glass. So while I am committed to Sony, I executed my strategy in a way that makes it easy to go back to Canon if I ever wish to.
That, to me is the biggest value proposition with an adapted lens strategy. You can use them very well on the Sony system, and of course natively on the Canon platform if desired. And adapter technology is only going to get better and better with new firmware and hardware.
In the end, this means a lot to me as a photographer - greater flexibility in lens selection, a "balanced" approach in lens-body combinations, and even more creativity when you consider the legacy glass that can be used. I also can venture away from the monoliths in the industry and explore emerging brands and technology which means better and more unique images for my clients.
In the end, it is a win-win-win.
My current Bodies and Lenses:
- Sony A72 (2x)
- Canon 70-200 2.8L Mk2
- Canon 24-70 2.8L Mk2
- Sony 55 1.8 CZ
- Rokinon T/S 24mm 3.5
- Rokinon 14mm 2.8 MF
- Nikkor 35mm 2.0 MF
- Nikkor 24mm 2.8 MF
- Konica Hexanon 57mm 1.4 MF
- Pentax 50mm 2.0 MF