Why did I shift to Mirror-less camera from a DSLR / by Karthik Rajagopal

It has been a couple of months since I bought my Sony A7R II and shifted completely from my Canon DSLR system.  I have been testing and using rented Sony cameras for last 4 months to make sure I don’t get a surprise when I buy a brand new system.  Since then many of the photographers have been asking me on why I made this switch. Switching from Canon to Sony was almost seen as a sacrilege by many photographers to say the least. I am writing this blog to express my thoughts behind this switch.  And, if you are expecting me to list the technical reasons, it will be safe for you to quit reading right now.

1.       Creative Workflow during Photography:

I am one of the photographers who was lucky enough to learn photography using film with manual SLRs like Nikon FM10 and FE2. When I shot pictures those days it was always composition which had the highest priority and then focus was achieved on a desired point of the frame by adjusting the focusing ring which was confirmed with optical focusing aids like split prisms, micro-prisms and range finders. This is something that radically changed as I started using my Canon DSLRs like EOS 350D, EOS 60D and EOS 6D. The workflow changed to first focus and recompose to shoot. Concentration of the AF points in the centre could be a reason for this, and there are no manual focusing aids in a DSLR. I should say this change in my workflow did affect the artistic quality of my pictures.  I am not telling its impossible to shoot artistic pictures with a DSLR. It dint work for me very well is all I would say. I always ended up shooting with eyes in focus while shooting people. There are a lot of other things to observe and focus to tell a better visual story. 

2.       Ease of Using manual focus lens:

In fact this should have been the first reason I should have mentioned. You can practically use any lens on this camera which allows you to focus and control the aperture.  Mitakon 50 mm f/0.95 is one of my favorite lenses. All the pictures featured in the blog were shot with this lens. I like the shallow DOF and resultant style I get by shooting with these lenses. Some of the M42 and vintage lenses all have a character that I miss in modern lenses. They are not perfect. But that’s the beauty. Now while I am writing this blog A7R III is already released. It would not matter much to me if all the lenses I use are only MF. The focus peaking feature comes handy whey you focus using a manual focus lens. All this happens without changing your fixed composition and it also allows enough time for you to focus on the desired area to tell a story. In the pictures below, I would not have felt as happy to have shot with the person eyes in focus. Showing the hands in focus I guess has helped me show a more interesting and a meaningful photograph. With more practice I think I am not far from maintaining a kit with all manual focus lenses.  Loxia from Zeiss is a set I personally like.

3.       Creating  a difference

At this point when I changed my system to a mirrorless, I was bored with myself shooting in a particular way and my composition was getting repetitive. I decided to take up work which is different from wedding, work with different set people, then I also thought why not change my equipment too.  This was the time when my friend PV Subramanian started Kit Karma, a peer to peer renting platform. I must have used his A7R II at least for some 5 to 6 shoots before deciding to buy it. All the pictures in this blog were all shot with A7R II  and the Mitakon 50 mm f/0.95. Thanks to PV and Vivek of Kitkarma for sharing their equipment. Mitakon 50 mm f/0.95 was a love at first shoot for me. It was not a sharp lens at all. But it dint matter to me. The look it gave in my pictures was convincing enough to buy it. Thanks to my friend Arul Mozhi who shipped it from the US.

When I went ahead with this new system I shot at-least 3 weddings to get familiar. Sony's menu is something you cant remember even after months of usage :D. I thank Thilak Qrosqro for giving me an opportunity to shoot this wedding.

 My friend http://www.qrosqro.com/

My friend http://www.qrosqro.com/

           Today equipment is something which least matters to me. I am fine with any camera and more excited to work with a new system.  I am looking forward to work with many photographers, different genres and keep creating which I can be proud off. As a photographer it is more important to keep yourself inspired and try different things. Settling with one style , technique or equipment is not my way. I like to be in a continuous process of experiment, learning and keep change as the only permanent thing.