Why Sony Is a Company All Photographers Should Be Supporting

About a week ago I was in New York City visiting for pleasure and decided there was no way I could leave without visiting my favorite store in the city: the B&H superstore. This was something I had been looking forward to since it would be the first time I could get my hand on the new Sony a9 and see what all the fuss was about. During my visit, I was absolutely floored by the performance of the a9 and how the Sony kiosk had way more attention than anywhere else in the store. This along with the recent announcement of Canon’s 6D Mark II and Nikon’s company woes made me realize how much the industry needs a company like Sony.

Pushing Technology and Innovation Further

As working photographers, we all know that gear isn’t everything. There’s no amount of money that can buy your way to obtaining the eye needed to succeed in this craft. Putting that aside, technology is a big part of the industry and there is no escaping that. When Sony released the a7S II and a7R II it pushed the boundaries of what we thought was possible in terms of a full-frame prosumer camera. Then directly after that they released both the a6300 and the a6500 which completely changed the game again for crop-sensor cameras. In doing so, Sony has shown that you can guarantee to get your money’s worth in every camera you buy from them. As a company, they are starting to phase out the days of having to buy a dedicated video camera and a dedicated photography camera because they can do both in one at a very high level for a solid price point. They essentially set the standard for cameras in both full-frame and crop-sensor cameras in less than two years. This is causing market pressure on all camera manufactures to keep up or be lost in the noise and will further push the industry to give us better technology at a faster pace.

Answering the Critics

I also remember first learning about the Sony E-mount camera systems and noticing the amount of push back the community was giving them. Whether it be the overheating, weatherproofing, battery life, and or dual card slots Sony, has gone above and beyond in addressing the issues and facing them head on. A prime example is the newly released a9 which practically had the entire list of features that critics had been saying was holding back the Sony ecosystem. If someone would have told you that there would be a full-frame mirrorless camera holding its own against Canon and Nikon flagships in a sports environment would you have believed them two years ago? I think things like this are the reason why the lackluster specifications of the new 6D are met with such harsh criticism. The consumers are starting to expect the features to match the price tag and I feel like personally Canon has now missed the mark on their last two full frame releases, hence the growing pushback towards Canon. While Sony has their own issues I still think that out of all the cameras on the market their cameras fit more styles of work than any other brand.

I want to be very clear that this article isn’t me trying to convince you to shoot or buy Sony products. They aren’t perfect and we should never expect any product or company to be perfect. Hell, at one point I left the Sony ecosystem because my needs had changed. I just want everyone to shoot what fits them best and what you are most comfortable with. Just simply understand that Sony is attacking the norm and pushing the boundaries of the industry. In the end this will lead to better products, more attention to consumers, and better performance-to-dollar spent for all camera manufactures. This is more than enough reason for me to continue to support the company going forward.

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59 Comments
Skeptic Spartan's picture

No thanks my money is on FUJI. Sony has a reputation of not updating thier consumer goods, and this Carry's over to cameras. FUJI has really stepped it up with their X line notably the XT1 and now the amazing XT2. Fuji for the win.

Lane Shurtleff's picture

While not a FUJI supporter (they make great cameras, I'm just a Nikon guy), SONY has a long track record of not only ignoring their old pro level equipment, but completely dropping repairs for their products after only a few short years. This is the main reason pros still use Nikon/Canon. Those companies pro level support is still second to none for us working pros. When SONY can have a full lens lineup of fast long range optics (300 2.8, 4100 2.8, 500 4, 600 4 etc) then and only then will SONY EVER by even remotely acknowledged by pros.

Chadd Wickens's picture

What sort of tripod do you need for the 4100mm f/2.8? lol. Totally agree with you though. I do find I use my sony quite a bit now, but in a pro setting I'd have to stick with my canon.

T Dillon's picture

Nobody updates their stuff likeFuji does. Fuji pretty much stands alone. But the features Sony brought to the a7II were quite nice. But it is sure an anomaly. I switched from Sony to Fuji, but it had little to do with firmware updates.

Chris Ramsey Jr.'s picture

But has Sony really had a lot of success in the industry until the E-mount? I think it would be foolish to think that they'll ever abandon the E-mount line after the success of the last 5 years.

Claude B.'s picture

I agree! There is more and more E Mount lenses on the market, just think of Sigma who made fantastic lenses for many types of camera.
The there is so much different great quality adapters. I have adapters for my old Nikon lens mount, Mamiya 645 lens adapter. My Sony A600 is a small champion. I never regret to get rid of my Nikon.

M L's picture

when Sony can match what Canon does with CPS then talk to me. Good product but poor support doesn't make for a good professional experience.

Daniel Lee's picture

As a Sony shooter, this is one of my biggest fears. I've received great support from NPS and CPS in the past and can only hope that Sony Pro Support comes close.

Chris Ramsey Jr.'s picture

I can completely relate to this but only time and experience will tell. I don't think Sony really had a dog in the fight until they released the E-mount line. They are doing the best they can to build the infrastructure they need to take care of their people.

steve prue's picture

this times a thousand. CPS has saved my bacon more than once...I hear nothing but bad things about Sony pro services or repairs.

Mr Hogwallop's picture

I had NPS and CPS from the time when you needed to have a sponsor and tearsheets to join. Not just a valid CC. CPS used to be great and now it is still pretty darn good. I had to use Sony Pro Support once and it went sell. A lens AF went wonky so they sent me (through Lensrental IIRC) the same lens that I had to send in at no cost for me to use until mine was repaired. CPS has better discount for repair $ though.
So that time it worked well. I think that Sony has the potential to step up their pro service but will take some time to catch up to the 30+ years experience that NPS and CPS has.

Claude B.'s picture

Canon is years behind the mirorless. The future is the mirorless and is gaining every year new professional adept.

Nissor Abdourazakov's picture

Nikon is my choice. Never had a problem with any lens or camera body.

T Dillon's picture

Must not have had the D600 or one of the funky D750's or D810's. Nikon has had some really bad luck/whatever recently with bodies.

Thomas Starlit's picture

What makes you say D810 is "funky"? It hasn't been recalled once

T Dillon's picture

Sure has. Service advisory for some odd noise artifacts. Limited, but was still an issue they could identify and fix mechanically.

From Nikon's website.
"We have received a few reports from some users of the Nikon D810 digital SLR camera indicating that noise (bright spots) are sometimes noticeable in long exposures, and in some images captured at an Image area setting of 1.2× (30×20).
After looking into the matter, we have determined that some noise (bright spots) may on occasion be noticeable when shooting long exposures, and in images captured at an Image area setting of 1.2× (30×20).
Nikon service centers will service these cameras that have already been purchased as needed free of charge to the customer. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused."

Chris Ramsey Jr.'s picture

The D810 is an amazing camera, I'm really looking forward to seeing the innovation in the D850.

Ken Yee's picture

And Panasonic is pushing Sony in video and should be supported

Chris Ramsey Jr.'s picture

I completely agree, Panasonic is killing it with the GH5.

Ralph Hightower's picture

20 FPS is amazing! And full frame. Plus, they added a 100-400mm lens, so they are adding to their lens portfolio. Will sports photographers start using them at NFL games and the Olympics?

Lane Shurtleff's picture

NOPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! See my rant above.

Chris Ramsey Jr.'s picture

Give it 2 years and look on the sidelines of sporting events Sony will be holding it's own, plus I'm sure the A9ii will be out by then too haha.

Daniel Lee's picture

Same could be said of Fujifilm and Hasselblad.

Also, weatherproofing? Please.

Chris Ramsey Jr.'s picture

Hasselblad is aimed at a different market but yes Fuji is doing great things as well and have really enjoyed all the times I've shot with one.

On the weatherproofing I've taken my a7rii out hiking in downpours and never had an issue with weatherproofing even in South Carolina's insane humidity. I'm currently moving to Colorado and eager to test how it is in the snow.

Mark Matthews's picture

LOL..... This article must be a joke!

Chris Ramsey Jr.'s picture

It's absolutely not a joke, Sony is pushing the boundaries for photography.

Spike S's picture

Sony is not pushing the boundaries of photography. They may be pushing the boundaries of camera gear features, but that's different. Speaking as someone who shoots professionally with short turnaround times, Canon's CPS is far more important to me than any new features. And I see the boundaries of my photography being pushed more generally but how I look at what I'm doing, not what equipment I have.

David Mawson's picture

Actually, they're pretty conservative compared to Panasonic. The GX85 is a rough match for the A6500, is only half a stop behind for sensor performance when you shoot at matched dof, and costs 1/4 as much...

Jacob Jexmark's picture

An utterly incorrect comment.

David Mawson's picture

The GX85 has better low light focusing, a better touch screen, better stabilization. The 6500 is ahead in continuous AF and that's it. If you think I'm missing something, then you need to do more than whine to be convincing. If you you object to the comments about sensor performance, then either you're not bright enough to understand what I said or you're too big a fanboi to look at test results. When you are shooting with matching dof, then the wider aperture for the m43 equals enough of an ISO boost to almost entirely negate the A6500's advantage.

Joe Bodego's picture

No way, Sony is the Apple of Photography... Expensive Cameras,. Bad Batteries, Ugly Design, Mediocre Lenses and just Bad Bad Bad people. Anyone can tell you, just talk to a sony employee, and i guarantee it would be your worst conversation. Sony should be ignored, i simply hate Sony

Kursad Sezgin's picture

Mediocre lenses? Have a look at this article please and reconsider your comment :) http://briansmith.com/sony-fe-lenses-sharp-canon-nikon-glass/

David Mawson's picture

Some of Sony's lenses are superb. Some are away awful. And judging from user reports, some suffer from severe sample variation. So you're both right.

Chadd Wickens's picture

Their cameras are very well priced, not sure where you're getting that. They have some fantastic lenses but the good ones are definitely expensive, like 20% or more for the Canon/Nikon equivalent.

Sean Gibson's picture

You're a fool. I shoot Canon 5D4 and all the latest L lenses released over the past 5 years (50mm, 16-35, 24-70, 70-200 f/2.8, 300 f/2.8) and my a7rii and Gmaster lenses (85mm & 24-70) blow them away in quality of the final image. Not to mention they are all equal or less in price. I still shoot both systems for different reasons, but will always reach for the sony first. Clearly every company has their own fanboys.

Claude B.'s picture

So, you are a super cheap basher. Sony but you are a looser.

Boyd Marcotte's picture

Imploring photographers to "support" a profit-motivated corporation as though they are doing some good for the world is a bizarre notion. Sony is interested in your money for profit, romanticizing it into something more than that is cultish thinking. I "support" charities, I "patronize" corporations that provide goods and services that meet my needs.

An article on this very site a few days ago would disagree with the notion that Sony [has] "...better performance-to-dollar spent for all camera manufactures." To suggest that they listened to their critics by responding with the a9 is to ignore that camera is only one model and costs nearly $5000. There are also photographers who need long glass and Sony's options for them at the moment is paltry to non-existent. Do they also fall under your definition of "all"?

I'm glad you like Sony and that it works for you, but the hyperbole this article is based on renders it tone-deaf.

Chris Ramsey Jr.'s picture

I think you're missing the point of the article, Sony is putting pressure on other companies in the industry to step up their game. Whether you believe that the gear is crap or not is subjective and I'm not arguing it.

Mr Hogwallop's picture

Sort of like how Toyota and Honda shocked GM and Ford into building smaller fuel efficient cars in the 80s. It took the big three a few years to catch up, eventually Nikanon will add the features that Sony has on their cameras.
The customers are more nimble than the corporations.

Jesse Loniewski's picture

Well 11 comments and everyone missed the point. You all hate Sony, clearly, but the entire point of this article is to say that in a couple of years you can thank them for 4k120 and 20fps shutter etc on your cameras. Canon and Nikon enjoy a co-monopoly in the camera business. Neither of them will ever push the other to inovate. Sony will. That's the point of the article and it's made that point clear to anyone who's open to listen.

Go back 6 or 7 years and you guys sound like apple fanboys talking about Android. Pretty much to a tee.

steve prue's picture

hi! I don't hate Sony.

There's a reason why Getty use Canon and Nikon, not Sony for their shooters.

As a working professional, Sony can't come close to either Canon or Nikon in reliability, Pro Service support, repair service in general, rental availability and other things that I rely on day to day while working. I have CPS centers in both NYC & LA, I can rent certain lenses/bodies for certain jobs in both towns. A camera is more than color science and fps.

Dallas Dahms's picture

Olympus do more innovation and boundary pushing than Sony.

Chris Ramsey Jr.'s picture

YAY! One person took away the true point of the article. People can argue until their blue in the face about whether Sony makes good cameras or not but that's not my fight and it's subjective.

Appreciate you reading the article!

Dallas Dahms's picture

I agree with the other comments regarding the fickleness of Sony's approach to any consumer electronics. They should never be in a dominant position because they are terrible when it comes to support and they also like to exploit customers by charging ridiculous amounts for really cheap parts of their systems. I remember paying absurd amounts for memory for my kids' first Playstation. Years later I bought a Sony Bravia TV (which I still have and love) but if I wanted it to be wifi capable I had to pay an extra 40% for a USB dongle to give it that capability.

Betamax anybody? Oh hang on, 99% of the users here won't know what that is. 😛

Nicolas Buchholz's picture

Have to disagree with the title. This is obviously click-bait or just written by a Sony fanboy.

Sony is a behemoth of a company and already sells sensors to most other camera manufacturers. While we used to have the two big DSLR companies Canon and Nikon push each other further, we can agree that mirrorless is the way forward. Sony has already overtaken Nikon and will overtake Canon soon as the no.1 top selling camera brand.
So why should "all photographers support Sony"? A two-horse race that drives innovation is in danger of becoming a one-horse race. So "supporting Sony" could in fact be the worst thing that could happen to our industry.

If you want innovation all photographers should support Fuji, Panasonic, Olympus, Pentax, Canon, Nikon, Sony, Hasselblad and Phase One equally. We want competition, we want innovation, we want everybody to be on their toes and look over their shoulders. We don't want another giant dominating the market share. Look at Adobe, we all hated the subscription based system, but they are so dominant in their market that we just have to live with (and pay for) whatever they want. Do we want Sony to sell 99% of all the sensors out there? Will they still innovate when there is no competition?

The last paragraph did explain the reasoning (which I completely agree with). But I'm just over the name-calling. "My brand is better than your brand".

dale clark's picture

As a pro architectural photographer, the switch to Sony (2 years ago) has been on of the best equipment decisions I have ever made. Don't get me wrong, I love Canon and used them for 20 years. No matter if you like Sony or not, having another major player (along with Fuji, Pentax and others) alongside the "big two" cannot be bad for the photo industry.

Reginald Walton's picture

Well that's nice and all, but we should support the camera makers that best fits our needs and for me, that's not Sony. The market will decide if Sony, Canon, Nikon and the rest will succeed or not. Just b/c a camera doesn't have 25 stops of dynamic range or a flip screen or makes DXO's list of best features or other bells and whistles we like, doesn't me we should just all support one particular company. I actually shoot both Canon and Nikon and for what I need, I get out of my 1DX II and D810 (soon to be D850). Just my 2 cents.

dale clark's picture

I think the writer is saying that we should support the "idea" of other players entering the "big two" playground. Whether it's Sony, Fuji, Pentax, etc. American cars are so much better nowadays because those "toy cars" from Japan back in the 70's and 80's came on the scene.

Myself, I would find it hard to live without EVF, tilt screen that my Sony brings. Battery life has never been an issue for me since I always use a grip. I do wish dual card slot would happen, but I lived with that for years until the 5Diii came along.

Eduardo Francés's picture

People should be thankful other brands exist, if today we have the awesome kickass cameras we have is because each brand has to compete against all other camera manufacturers.

Which in turn means EVERYONE (Canon, Sony, Fuji, Nikon, Pentax, Oly, Panasonic...) have the option to buy great cameras and features we couldn't have dreamt off 20 years ago.

The more competitors doing awesome things, the better for us consumers!

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