Why so little love from the 'pros' for Sony?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Hans Von Der Crone, Sep 21, 2014.

  1. Hans Von Der Crone

    Hans Von Der Crone TalkEmount Rookie

    Oct 31, 2012
    Let me first start by saying I'm not a brand loyalist, neither am I trying to stirr up a discussion which is 'better'. I recently sold my 5D3 + L lenses and in the process of either deciding to invest (further) in Sony by buying the A7 (or its successor), or going the Fuji route with the X-system (mainly X-T1 + primes). My main photography is weddings, indoor events and kids/people.

    I currently own a Sony a6000 + 16702 + 24Z + SEL50 and I wonder why it is there seems to be so little 'professionals' choosing Sony for their work. Since I've been investigating different systems for a few weeks now, trying to decide what is the 'good' move for me, I bumped into a lot of blogs of professional photographers who either completely sold their SLR setups to go with Fuji, or who use Fuji extensively together with their SLR. I don't see this (almost at all) with Sony. Even though cameras like the a6000 have amazing AF, very good IQ and lens lineup which (if you pay for it) isn't that bad. Same thing for the A7. A lot of photographers seem to like it, but I see very little pro's going the Sony route.

    The main reasons I can think of, is mainly the lens lineup of Sony isn't up to par of Fuji (at least quality-wise), but on the other hand, having first hand experience with some of the best glass Sony has to offer, this might be a misconception. Maybe the Sony support is bad compared to Fuji? (which can be a major factor for pro's). Maybe Fuji marketing is doing a better job reaching out to the pro's and Sony is more focussed on the enthusiast?

    I really wonder what you guys are thinking about this. I am still very much debating if the Fuji X-T1 + primes can offer me about the same as my 5D3 did, but on the other hand since I already own a Sony system, investing in the Sony FF might be a better bet. Very hard to decide and I must say, by checking out all these blogs, Fuji is pulling me in more and more. It's also strange to see that the Flickr groups seem to show a lot more creativity when it comes to photographs taken with Fuji, compared to the Sony groups which seem kinda generic. Of course it's just the man/woman behind the camera that makes the difference, but browse flickr a bit, the difference is very easy to see.
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  2. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    The mirrorless vs SLR question is an entirely different one than the Fuji vs Sony one, so I'll just answer both.

    Many Pros choose SLRs (mainly Canon or Nikon ones) because they are already heavily invested in those ecosystems. Also, there is still no mirrorless which could compete with a Nikon D4s or a Canon 1DX on toughness, speed and functionality.

    As for the Sony vs Fuji question - I'm not sure what the real reason is. Trey Ratcliff, for example, went the Sony route with the NEX-7 and now the A7r. I think it's just because of a combination of small things which go for Fuji - the option for a hybrid VF, the styling which pros who are in the business for a long time might like better, and the selection of some fine lenses. Sure, Sony does have fantastic lenses, but there's simply no actual replacement for, say, the Fuji 56 f/1.2 or the 35 f/1.4.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Real Name:
    I am not sure if you guys would agree with me on that but regaring the Sony vs Fuji.. I just have the feeling that Fuji allows you to configure camera very very fast, like my old manual film cameras. While in sony you still have to dive into menus (even though thinks have been improved quite a lot).
  4. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    At least with the NEX-7, once you set it up, you never need to go into the menu. Except for switching from A to M mode sometimes, of course. But it's true, Fuji's control layout is pretty great, which might be one of the reasons many choose Fuji over Sony.
  5. Bill

    Bill TalkEmount Veteran

    Oct 22, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    sonyalpharumors reported that, in Germany, in April 2015, Sony intends to launch a professional programme that will include: a dedicated remote help desk, free collection and return of repairs, free loaners and free sensor cleaning twice a year.

    Next year and just in Germany. They seem to have a plan, but it looks like it's going to take awhile to get there.
  6. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    The unknowns of 'support' very well do enter into someone's willingness to leave their comfort zone and branch out into a new manufacturer's line of products, whether cars, boats, TV's, smartphones, photography equipment, etc.
    On a related note, I decided to pass a question on up to Sony's Corporate Customer Relations, that I had sent and resent to the regular Sony Support multiple times since August 25th without a single answer so far.
    (I got the automated case# acknowledgement each time but never the courtesy of an answer to a simple question).
    And the huge litany of negative comments about Sony Support on public display at Sony Customer Relations is shocking...credit their honesty in allowing it to all be publicly visible...but otherwise, shocking.
    So if that's all seen / considered by prospective new customers...like we read reviews of some bag or lens compared to another before buying...concerns about support would very probably be a deal breaker.
  7. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Real Name:
    I will add a few thoughts.

    1- Sony is kind of new to the game, so established photographers are already invested in other systems.

    2- Sony is a many headed company. Cameras are a very small portion of the business, which may get neglacted.

    3- The first mirrorless were great, but a bit unpolished and pros saw them as fun toys. Now however, they are fully realized and capable.
    The trick is convincing Pros that they can get just as sharp images with a mirrorless as with a DSLR.

    With that is the accessories available. Very few extra tools were available for proffessional photographers when mirrorless products were launched. The original NEX's did not even have a hotshoe. Clearly the target audience was not proffesionals.

    4- The Sony menus are a bit of a mess and lean more towards P&S users. Once you get set up you are fine, but it is a bit of a learning curve.

    The new menus do look promising though, so nice work Sony for listening and fixing this.

    In summary, Pros in general simply don't take mirrorless seriously. Give them time.

    As for Sony versus the others, this to will take time. Sony is the youngster in the game and needs time to gain traction.
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  8. taz98spin

    taz98spin TalkEmount Regular

    Sep 14, 2014
    As a die hard Fuji fan and user, the IQ just cannot compare to FF.. sad but true.

    However, the reason why I still will keep my X gear and continue to purchase gear from Fuji is.. because their amazing customer support, lens line up, and ability to customize in-camera JPEGs.

    I know.. lots of folks will scream shoot RAW, but I prefer the in-camrea JPEGS I get from Fuji. The skin tones are "just right" for my Asian eyes. Sony A7S.. I can hardly adjust any setting for JPEGs, so after a week of fiddling around and comparing, even adjusting the WB, I have decided to use RAW only. It's taking longer for me to process the files, since I already have actions set up for my Fuji JPEGS, but the files I am getting from the RAW files are more pleasing. So if you're a JPEG shooter, I'd go to Fuji. If you're a RAW shooter, I would go with the A7x series. Once again the IQ from FF is superior to APSC.

    Lens line up. I know Sony just announced some new lens and updated their lens line up, but there are more native lens you can buy right now for Fuji. 2015 might be different, but right now, Fuji has more native lenses to use than the A7x FE cameras.

    Lastly, customer service. I know most folks usual will voice complains more than compliments, but before buying my A7S, I read lots and lots of horror stories about Sony customer service. I too have first hand experience with the incompetent customer service form owning 3 Cybershot cameras.. That being said, for Fuji, I've had a cracked screen replaced, + broken 56/1.2 lens within 2 weeks of sending it off to them. Fast and informative customer service kept me updated about the progress and I wasn't worried. So with my A7S, I bought extended warranty just incase Sony customer service would screw with me again..

    Hope this helps the OP and others in this thread. A little long winded, but thanks for reading ;)
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Real Name:
    There's the answer right there. It isn't the camera system as such, it's the support for pros that makes them shoot Canikon. Pentax suffers the same issue as Sony- no pro program even though they have some of the best aps-c bodies available.

    When you're on a paid gig and your gear craps out, you want to know that a phone call can get you back shooting. Don't get that with Sony or Pentax. Yet.
  10. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Ruggedness and support and lens choices and flash system.

    Sony cameras may be every bit as good - or better - in the output as anything out there.

    But, if your living depended on your equipment functioning when it has to, would you be comfortable using a mirrorless ? Don't forget, a pro goes through an order of magnitude higher shutter count in a year than any dedicated amateur photog.

    Will shutter give after 50K actuations ?

    Will they get the same level of dedicated support from Sony as they get from Canon with their pro accounts ?

    Is there a lens for any situation ? (And using MF is sometimes just not an option, or makes work too hard).

    How often would they need to change batteries while shooting a wedding ?

    What about lighting ?

    In the end, with all the stuff they attach to their bodies, the size of pro grade lenses, the flashes, the battery pack, the only advantage they get from a mirrorless is the sensor.

    Which (a) they can get in a high end Nikon FF (b) thousands of weddings were shot with Canon sensors and they turned out just great (c) there are also things like AF speed and accuracy, color accuracy, nature of noise etc.

    My Nex 6 has better DR and slightly less noise than T3i. But T3i had far more pleasing colors straight out of camera, the nature of noise was better than Sony's (negating the advantage) and it had faster AF that could actually lock on running kids in near complete darkness. In the end, I switched to Sony because I could get comparable photos with a smaller package, not because I was getting better photos.

    For a pro photog, the size of the body doesn't really matter. Actually, given the size of lenses, flashes etc. they use, a large body with a sizable battery pack, easy grip and ton of buttons is preferable.

    As to why pros don't chose Sony SLTs for they work - some do, I've observed a hired photog at one of the weddings using Sony FF SLT camera. I think the reason this is fairly rare is, again, the much smaller lens choice, the fact that CaNikon have invested years into grabbing the pro market and establishing a well working support system, and the reason that people tend to use the equipment the others use.
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  11. Hans Von Der Crone

    Hans Von Der Crone TalkEmount Rookie

    Oct 31, 2012
    Thanks for great insights, a welcome and fresh breath compared to some other forums where I posted this and ******ism came raging. Still considering Fuji since the colours look so nice and I would love to lighten my workload by doing less raw processing too.
  12. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    Good points there too...
  13. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Real Name:
    Ya, I don't get the system bashing. I have a bias towards the NEX system, but recognize that others may like a $^^%^%^% system. Each will have their strengths and weaknesses.

  14. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    Bob Krist is one of the NG photographers that I went to his seminars about travel photography... He is also a Nikon's official photographer eg Nikon training videos, advertised df, etc... He used to shoot 2 D90's in 2009 due to lighter weight with apsc when pros were all full frame. Now he is shooting mirrorless with A6000 and RX10 (maybe also he is doing more videos):


    His travel kit for Bali (left to right) a Sony RX10 with its built-in equivalent 24-200mm f/2.8 Zeiss, a 35mm f1.8 Sony prime, a Zeiss 16-70mm f/4 E, and a Sony A6000 mounted with a Sony 10-18mm ultrawide zoom. While the RX10 has a built-in ND filter, the A6000 doesn’t, so those three lenses are each fitted with a Variable ND filter.
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  15. Archer

    Archer TalkEmount Regular

    Aug 19, 2013
    London, England
    I have an NEX 5N and A6000 for me the biggest issue using these as a full time pro would be the poor ergonomics. The cameras are designed to be both small and look pleasing to the eye. But I've just been doing some practise shots at home on my A6000 with a full size Yongnuo flash attached and my right hand is aching from carrying the weight on the very tips of my right hand fingers. There is no physical way I can see to position your thumb to press most of the read buttons without loosening your grip on the camera by a huge degree, thus taking the weight of everything on the tips of your four fingers.

    The lack of dials and buttons and poor positioning of them would probably cripple a wedding or conference photographer after a lot of hours of work, especially if they used a flash and even more so if they used a flash-bender.
    If Sony start putting their high end mirrorless cameras in to the body of their SLTs then it would be a better choice for pros.
  16. Rollin

    Rollin TalkEmount Regular

    Jul 2, 2014
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    Quick background for full disclosure:
    Right now I work for a camera store meeting with Pros, govt. agencies and schools among others. The store sells both Sony & Fuji, and lots more Cankon than both of those. I studied the compact system cameras for several months before dumping my Canon L lenses from my newspaper shooting days, instead of buying a new Canon body and moved to Sony. I was looking for lighter weight, less conspicuous gear for my reportage and other work. And I love me an EVF.

    Why I chose Sony:
    1. They seemed more innovative and putting in more R&D. At the time having come out with the RX1, α7 (FF) and α6000 when I jumped in with both feet.
    2. Bloggers who really shot kept raving what they could pull from Sony files and their high IQ. I know many out there rave about the Fuji X-Trans sensor having an organic look, but I actually find the noise pattern too busy and actually distracting. And many say Fuji's RAW's still have issues smearing and not having the detail at higher ISOs.
    3. Which brings me to Sony noise - I find it works in my high ISO images to add depth (grain like if you must). Note some Fuji shooters add grain in post, I get it right off my sensor.
    4. FE 55mm F1.8 ZA - sharpest AF lens in the world. BOOM! ;-)
    5. Better AF
    6. Better high ISO performance. Fuji's only really goes to 6,400 right now and some say they cook their numbers:
    7. Larger company might ramp up pro level support sooner.
    8. Making interesting Apps - again innovation, and in a way continues support for bodies
    9. Sony alpha mount lenses via adapter offer wide choices if you need them

    I looked long and hard at Fuji and do like:
    1. Rangefinder style Pro bodies - My thought was they would be less conspicuous, but now that I have used my α7S finding the body is not that wide and it disappears into my hand just fine.
    2. APS Pro bodies. Wish there was a NEX7 replacement.
    3. 16MP - I really wish α6000 was not 24 MP as low ISO's have too much noise for my taste
    4. Company's wiliness to issue firmwares for upgrades, including to older cameras. You invest in them, and you get the sense they will take care of you. Some would say they just are not getting it right off the bat and need to keep updating.
    5. Refined jpgs and RAW to jpeg conversion in camera so you can do it several times.
    6. The grass roots community that seems to exist. - We just need to get out there and be active. Sites like this and Sony ALPHA Camera - TALK on Facebook. Sometimes I get the sense Fuji users just make more noise, and in Asia and Europe there are a lot of good Sony shooters quietly working.
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  17. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Real Name:
    If I was a pro, weight/size would not be my primary concern.

    As you said, I would want something that I could work with all day long, regardless of size/weight.
  18. Hans Von Der Crone

    Hans Von Der Crone TalkEmount Rookie

    Oct 31, 2012
    Nice info. Currently own the a6000 + 1670Z + 24Z + 1670Z so almost the same setup as his. Very much considering getting the A7+55mm for those great FF shots, but the RX10 is still on the list too for travel. I might hold off the A7 for a while though and get the 10-18 since that's the only range lacking for the moment on my setup. Too many (good) choices :)
  19. Rollin

    Rollin TalkEmount Regular

    Jul 2, 2014
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    Here is my opinion on some items brought up in other posts in this thread:

    The α7 family is not even a year old and they have 5 lenses you can buy now and two more by the end of the year so how can you complain at this point? Fuji might be doing a better job putting out a road map so there is a feeling they have a better line up, but really look at what you can buy now:

    High Quality for APS that the other guy does not have:
    X100 - sweet 23mm w/ a leaf shutter, a lens w/ a dedicated body if you will, smoother to use than the RX1 w/ EVF on top and way cheaper
    18-135 + weather sealed
    60mm mac

    Someone earlier said Sony does not have a replacement for the 56mm f/1.2, how is the f/1.8 really not equivalent?

    30mm mac
    35mm (Fuji's is slow to focus, so much so one Pro I work with is almost ready to ditch her Fuji's)

    And FF: Fuji 0 - Sony 5

    Do not underestimate the Fuji X100S or T. One of my favorite X-shooters Kevin Mullins gets hit with "you must have shot most of that wedding with the XT-1", his reply today "X-T1 (40%) & X100S (60%)." I had hoped the RX1R would be that for me, but I find the external EVF just a bit cumbersome to use quickly, and now α7S is so good under low lite and as quiet, with continuous AF as an option.

    I just don't get the rap that Fuji has way better lens line up. I just don't see it. And according to one blogger I respect:
    "If I display a palpable lack of enthusiasm for Fuji, it’s mainly because whilst they build a great camera body – the X-T1’s ergonomics are superb, barring flat buttons – the lenses are merely good, and they still haven’t really addressed the workflow problem. ACR still does a terrible job with the files, and Silkypix is still unusable for a professional workflow and large quantity of images. I think it’s very telling that a lot of the ‘pros’ who use Fuji do not shoot raw. Shooting JPEG leaves far too much image quality on the table." - Ming Thein http://blog.mingthein.com/2014/09/19/thoughts-on-the-photokina-2014-announcements/

    Camera input
    One blogger said the Fuji's would not work for him because they do not react fast enough to changing lighting/situation. True they have direct dials, but you got to have time to dial them in. http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/fuji_x_t1_further_thoughts.shtml

    DSLR vs CSC
    I think the EVF is a huge advantage.
    I would rather change bttys more often than have the soar back from the DSLR system.
    The weather sealed ruggedness is a big advantage for DsLR's, but at that price I could have two α6000's or maybe two α7's for back ups and when they improve the tech it does not kill me to buy the new one.
    As to ergonomics I use and sell these grips and really like them: http://www.jbcameradesigns.com

    Pros picking Fuji
    As I said in my above post I work with Pros buying gear, and so far all have picked Fuji. And it is because of that grass roots praise among the Fuji wedding shooters. I mention Sony to them, but they are in rapture about the feel of the Fuji cameras, and what they have seen of the files. Which I think is great for them if they are happy. I would not say Fuji or Sony or Olympus is the wrong choice for many. Support each other in this EVF revolution. There are plenty of Sony pros out there too, like Trey Ratcliff that was mentioned, and JeZa Photography http://www.jezaphoto.com/

    Video was not mentioned at the top of this thread and that would then swing it firmly to Sony if a consideration.
  20. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    As for lenses Fuji vs. Sony E - let's not forget the Touit line. Three amazing lenses available for both mounts. Both offer great 24mm lenses (I think the Fuji one is 23mm) to fill the gap. For fast 50's - there's the new Mitakon 50mm 0.95 PRO. What's missing are fast telephoto prime lenses (does Fuji have some? Never seen one at least).

    So I'd say this decision comes down much more to design and control scheme preferences than lenses nowadays.

    And if video is a consideration, MFt is the only choice right now. Panasonics GH series offers great video quality, and the BMD Pocket Cinema Camera is the best cheap-ish video-only camera out there. Sony is close with the A7s, but not there yet (i.e. you can't record ProRes 422 on the SD card, which is key for many situations).