For many years I thought that I would never change to a different camera brand. When I turned 11 I got my first camera. This was a Canon and I always stuck with Canon from that moment onwards. For many years Nikon was the only real competition and there was no reason to switch brand. The two brands competed toe to toe. Once invested in one of the two brands, it didn’t make sense to invest a lot of money for changing to something which was just slightly different. But in the past few years things have changed dramatically. Canon and Nikon are not the only big players anymore. Other companies alone have been making more progress than these two companies combined. Many photographers, including me, have already switched brand because of this. But there are still many photographers out there who are not sure what to do. They are still waiting to see what the near future will bring and wonder if this is the right time to make the switch.
Just a couple of days ago Sony announced another two E-mount lenses, the 600mm f4 GM OSS and the 200-600mm f5.6 G OSS. This is a big step many wildlife and sport photographers have been waiting for. 400mm was until now the longest native Sony lens, which was for many wildlife and sport photographers too short. But now the 600mm range will be available in just a few months. The 600mm f4 lens is for many professionals and enthusiasts a key lens. And the 200-600mm f5.6-6.3 lens, with its very attractive price tag of around 2000 euro, falls perfectly in the price range of the similar lenses of competing brands. Making it a perfect lens for the hobby photographer. (If you want to learn more about how these two lenses perform, take a look on YouTube. There are quite some videos of professionals testing these two lenses.)
Personally, I think that these two lenses might be the final push which many needed to make the switch to Sony. I posted this on my Facebook page and received a comment, saying that switching is too expensive. This is something I have always agreed with. But I have given it some more thought and took into account the development in camera technology we are seeing now. This made me wonder if switching to a different brand really is that expensive at the moment.
We are now experiencing the transaction from DSLR to mirrorless cameras. Meaning that many of you will have to make the switch from DSLR to mirrorless. You could completely switch brand or just switch the mirrorless but stick with the same brand. The downside of this is, that the native lenses can only be used with an adapter. The producers claim that these adapters do not affect focus performance, sharpness or any other image quality. Even if this is 100% true, do you really want to always have an adapter between your camera and lens? These adapters increase the risk of water and dust getting into the camera system and it can be straight annoying to deal with. Meaning, when you make the switch to mirrorless within “your own brand”, at some moment you will also have to switch your lenses to the lenses produced for the mirrorless bodies. And this won’t be cheap!
Acknowledging that there will be a moment in the near future where you have to change your current camera gear anyway, why wouldn’t you look at what competing brands have to offer? There might be a brand out there which has camera gear which suits much better for your needs, or just produces better photo equipment. But then the question “When would it be the right moment to switch to a different brand?” arises. My answer to this is “Preferably yesterday than today!”.
For most of us switching means that we have to sell our current camera gear, to be able to afford the new gear. Since the interest in mirrorless cameras has increased, the interest in second hand DSLR cameras has decreased. As result, the value of second hand DSLR photo gear is decreasing fast. I made the full switch from Canon to Sony in the end of last year. I put all my Canon gear in December up for sale, but didn’t manage to sell all of it. Now half a year later I still have not been able to sell all my Canon gear (anyone who wants to buy a Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM lens for 3500,- euro?) and experience a clear decrease in the price of what I still can get for my gear.
I’m happy that I made the decision to switch to Sony when I did, because I was still able to sell most of my Canon gear. I wonder how this would have been if I had waited another year. Would I still have been to sell my gear and what price would I have gotten for it? In my opinion, the longer you wait with making the switch, the more expensive it is going to get. And not only for those who are switching brand, but also for those who are waiting for the new lenses to come out. How much will you still get for your old lenses when that time arrives? Depending on with which brand you photograph, it might actually be cheaper to switch brand right now, instead of waiting for your brand to catch up with the production of new lenses.
For example, if I would have stayed with Canon and would now change to their mirrorless system, I still have to wait one or two year(s) until they will release the 500mm f4 with RF mount. By then my old 500mm f4 lens would be almost worthless on the second-hand market. If I still want to get a reasonable price for this lens, I have to sell it now. But I can’t do my job without this lens, so I can’t sell it before I get a replacing lens. But Sony does already have a full line-up with professional lenses for their mirrorless cameras available. So selling my Canon gear now while it still has some value on the second hand market and using this money to switch to Sony, is cheaper than staying with Canon and upgrading my gear in a few years.
To which brand you should switch is up to you. Everyone has different needs and will profit of different features of the gear. Me being a nature and wildlife photographer, I'm very happy I went for Sony. The a9 camera is an insane sports camera. The high frame rate and ridiculous fast and accurate autofocus make it possible for me to get more out of the moments of action. The a7RIII has the highest image quality of any camera I have ever owned. The combination of the high resolution and the incredible dynamic range, capture every detail in a way I never did before. These cameras paired with the Sony E-mount G and G Master lenses, ranging from 10mm up to 600mm, can fulfill my needs for any situation. Also the reduced weight of the gear is something very welcome! The improvement I got by changing brand was definitely worth the investment.
I’m not saying that everyone should switch brand now. I’m sure there are many who are happy with the brand they are using and are willing to invest more money when they need to upgrade their gear. But those who are considering switching brand, I suggest you don’t wait much longer. Switching is expensive, but it will be a lot more expensive if you wait much longer!