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Every single wedding photographer catches the gear bug at some point in time. It’s almost like the common cold, it comes and goes once in a while (and you build some resistance to it but suddenly BAM – it hits you).
For wedding photographers who are heavily invested in their existing system (e.g., Nikon, Canon, Fujifilm), switching camps is a costly exercise. I would know because I’ve made the very same brand switch not just once, but a few times.
Therefore, if you’re a wedding photographer who is feeling the seductive pull of moving to Sony mirrorless, then this article will be of assistance.
Sony Prime Lenses
Every wedding photographer has their favorite focal length for certain situations. For example, most wedding photographers prefer prime lenses and 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm focal lengths tend to the lenses that remain attached to camera bodies for most of a wedding.
One of the reasons that stopped me from switching to Sony (from Nikon) was the perception that Sony didn’t have a profession lens line-up. This was quite possibly quite true many years ago but at the time of writing, Sony has a significant arsenal of fast zoom lenses and fast primes.
The Canon EF 24 f/1.4L II USM is a popular lens for many wedding photographers. It is great for contextual shots and if you’re a wedding photographer who loves to get up and personal with your subjects – the 24mm focal length is perfect. Luckily for you, Sony has the FE 24mm f/1.4 GM .
For many Canon 50L lovers, the move away from Canon will be the hardest due to this lens. Whilst nothing will ever replace the EF 50mm f/1.2L USM truly, the Sony Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA is a remarkable lens. Even the budget Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA is a lens worth investing.
Personally one of my favorite focal lengths, I cannot photograph a wedding without the 85mm focal length. Fujifilm, Nikon, and Canon all have their flagship 85mm (or equivalent in the case of Fujifilm) lenses. For those of you sitting on the fence, you will be pleased to know that there are a few options for you to choose from.
First off is the crème de la crème – the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM. With its wide aperture, it offers incredible subject separation.
Then there is the ZEISS Batis 85mm f/1.8 that has many fans and also the budget-conscious Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 that doesn’t pull any punches. You may also wish to consider the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG GSN Art for Sony.
Canon wedding photographers love their 135L (for good reasons). If you’re in this camp, you will be pleased to know that Sony has an FE 135mm f/1.8 GM to fill the gap.
Sigma also offers a native Sony E mount 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art.
Sony Zoom Lenses
The 24-70mm and 70-200mm focal ranges have been a staple for many wedding photographers, especially when paired with a fast f/2.8 constant aperture. The main advantage of using these pro zoom lenses is the versatility in reach without having to change lenses or move.
In many real-world weddings, it is not possible to get to the ideal spot and wedding photographers often resort to cropping in post or using a zoom lens.
It’s not a focal range that dominates the wedding day but for certain situations, this versatile ultra-wide perspective comes in handy. After all, when in cramped quarters, there is only so much that one can step back before running out of space.
Every wedding photography-worthy camera brand has its respective 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens. Canon has the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II and an EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM.
In 2015, Nikon released the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR, replacing the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8 G ED. Even the newly released Nikon Z-series (Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7) has its very own Z-mount NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens.
On the Fujifilm APS-C platform, the XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR is the full-frame equivalent of the 24-70mm focal length.
You will also be pleased to know that Tamron offers a popular economical 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD in native Sony E mount.
Perfect for portraits and snapping candids of unaware guests, the 70-200mm focal length is another popular wedding photographer staple. Similar to its 24-70mm lens, Sony also offers two variants for your consideration: FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS and the slower constant aperture FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS.
For existing Canon wedding photographers who may own an EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM, there is good news for you. With a third-party adapter such as the Metabones V or Sigma MC-11, you can mount your Canon 70-200mm onto your Sony mirrorless camera with full eye AF functionality.
If the FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS price tag makes your eyes water, you may consider adapting the Canon EF-mount Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports lens.
Sony Camera Bodies
You’re probably considering switching across to Sony because of a certain Sony mirrorless camera.
Most wedding photographers wanting to make the transition will be doing so from a DSLR. One of the biggest advantages of a mirrorless camera compared to a traditional DSLR is not so much the size and weight, but rather, having an electronic viewfinder (EVF).
Where DSLR camera bodies had optical viewfinders, the benefit of an EVF is that it makes getting the exposure of each frame so much easier. For a wedding photographer, this feature is a welcome addition as it allows them to turn their attention on their subjects.
But in all honesty, you’re probably tempted to ditch your current Nikon/Canon/Fujifilm setup because of one amazing feature: eye AF. As someone who has been using eye AF at weddings for almost a year now, eye AF meets the hype (although it requires a bit of practice).
For Nikon D800, Nikon D810, Canon 5DS and Canon 5DS R wedding photographers who want to retain a large megapixel sensor, the Sony a7R III will be the best replacement with its 42 MP CMOS sensor. However, the more popular Sony cameras among wedding photographers tend to be split between the Sony a9 or Sony a7 III.
The Sony a7 III is probably the perfect replacement for Nikon D750 and Canon 5D MK III owners who want an all-rounder budget-friendly camera. For Canon EOS 5D MK IV, EOS 1D X Mark II, Nikon D850, and Nikon D5 owners, who may want a more high-end camera, the Sony a9 may be for you.
The Sony a9 offers more images per buffer, 20fps burst raw, better LCD and EVF resolution, and 3 stops faster readout speed compared to the cheaper Sony a7 III.
If you’re a wedding photographer who does a little bit of video on the side, the Sony a7 III may be a better choice since it has a full set of customizable picture profiles that the Sony a9 does not. Both Sony mirrorless cameras offer 4K internal video recording up to 25fps in PAL and 30fps in NTSC mode.
Before the Sony a9 and Sony a7III (which won 2018 EISA Photography Awards), the Sony a7S II was a popular choice for wedding videographers because it offered very high ISO performance.
If you’re tempted to make the switch to Sony, you’re in good company as we have picked three Sony mirrorless cameras out of our list of six best mirrorless cameras of 2019.
On-Camera Flashes For Bouncing Or Slow Shutter Flash
As much as wedding photographers prefer working with natural light, having external lighting is a must for situations where the ambient light is inadequate.
The HVL-F60RM is Sony’s flagship flash. It is similar to the Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT and the Nikon SB-5000 in functionality (e.g., wireless radio communication, multi-flash control, high-speed sync).
Compared to the earlier model Sony HVL-F45RM, the newer HVL-F60RM has a higher output and improved overheating protection.
Unlike the Sony HVL-F45RM that has a zoom range of 24-105mm, the Sony HVL-F60RM has a zoom range of 20-200mm. For wedding photographers who do a lot of slow shutter dance floor photos, the extra zoom range of the HVL-F60RM comes in very handy.
One critical piece of information that most articles omit is the fact that all mirrorless cameras cannot detect IR focus beams. For wedding photographers who rely on IR focus beams, this will be the biggest learning curve to overcome when switching across to Sony mirrorless.
Thankfully, the Sony HVL-F60RM has an LED array that acts as a modeling lamp so that in dark situations, our Sony mirrorless camera can achieve focus.