What Kind of Gear Do You Use? | FAQ

A fairly common question among photography geeks like myself. The answer changed almost a year ago, so I thought I’d answer it here.

If you’re a family considering hiring me, I want to give you the short answer. I’m a Sony shooter. But also, I want to tell you that it doesn’t matter. What I bring to your home to capture your story is my belief that the little moments of family life are beautiful and hard to see from within, along with a solid idea of what you want to remember about this chapter. My bag contains the tools I need to capture it beautifully.

If you’re a photographer, you might find the story of my gear journey interesting and/or relatable.

For the first decade of my business, I shot with all Canon gear. I talk about it in this NAPCP article feature, and I even set up a little photo-op, prettily displaying it all.

mirrorless camera journey
My Old Gear

I took updated photos of (somewhat upgraded) gear again as part of a 2019 photography feature. (Green is its color, don’t you think?). Yeah, I was a Canon girl through and through. I loved my gear!

Another cute photo of my gear (as it had evolved a few years later – thanks NAPCP!)

Which is NOT to say that my eyes didn’t stray. Sparkly, shiny things are always being waved around in the peripheral vision of a photographer. In 2014, I started listening in earnest to all the buzz around the new mirrorless craze. It seemed that by taking the rotating mirror out of a camera body, you could make it much smaller. And since digital cameras use digital sensors instead of actual film, those mirrors were never actually necessary in digital cameras in the first place – there were put in there almost out of habit, I’m told. Crazy, right? In any event, there were these cute little mirrorless cameras out there now that were reputed to do everything a big bulky DSLR could do at a fraction of the DSLR size and weight.

So started my affair with mirrorless.

I bought the Fuji XT1 in June of 2014, and it was adorable. Really cute. I found myself taking photos of it with my Canon cameras (which was NOT its intended purpose, mind you). And I tried for years to love it as much as I loved my big mama Canon cameras. But it just never felt intuitive. I put myself in Fuji bootcamp a few times – ONLY using the Fuji for personal and travel purposes – belieiving that if I could train my mind and fingers to learn to love the Fuji system, I would somehow be able to convert to a tried and true loyal Fuji user.

It just didn’t work. I wasn’t as fast on the Fuji, and while I eventually got better, I never felt that the Fuji was great at fast focusing on moving subjects in low light. I NEVER used my Fuji gear for professional work, and I always felt a bit handicapped when I picked it up for my own personal and travel work. I’m not a quitter, mind you. I tried and I tried, and I bought upgraded bodies and faster lenses, optimistically insisting that I could make it work. I spent money and I cursed at the camera and I kept trying.

In the fall of 2019, I was taking photos in Spain during a visit to my daughter. As I raised the camera (now a Fuji XT2) to my face and attempted to adjust the settings and grab a candid moment of my oldest and youngest in the Plaza de Maria Pita under the streetlights, I felt that familiar frustration. I can’t remember if it was an issue of fumbling fingers or of the camera taking longer to focus than I wanted, but it prompted me to mutter “I hate this camera” for what I realized must have been the hundredth time. My husband looked at me and responded, “If you really hate that camera, WHY do you keep using it??).

It was an epiphany.

Why was I trying to force myself to love a camera that made me curse during vacation?

A month later, I had sold the entire Fuji kit.

If you’re familiar withe the mirrorless story, your obvious question would be this: “Why wouldn’t you just buy Canon’s mirrorless?”

Well. I did consider it. In 2019, the Canon EOS R had entered the scene – Canon’s first mirrorless offering. I had rented it at some point, and I loved the way it felt in my hands. The files were dreamy, too. BUT. The speed just wasn’t there. In 2019, Canon was still pulling up the rear in the mirrorless race.

Who was the winner at the time?

Sony.

When I finally got a Sony mirrorless in my hands – the Sony A9 – it was as if the heavens opened up and angels began singing.

I was able to customize my Sony so that most of the camera settings I used most were assigned to similar buttons/dials on the Sony as the ones I was accustomed to on my Canon bodies. The focus was SUPER fast. And the sharpness was something I didn’t even know I could hope for.

A few. months later, I started bringing my Sony to my family sessions. Not long after that, I had beefed up my Sony kit so that it contained all the elements of my complete Canon kit. And not long after that, I boxed up the entire Canon kit — my first love — and shipped it to its new owner.

Do I miss Canon? Not in any practical way. My Sony gear is awesome and small, and can do everything my Canon gear did … better. Canon has since come out with the R5 and R6 and by all accounts, these camera bodies are much closer to my Sony’s awesomeness than the then-available R body was in 2018. I’m sentimental, so I sometimes wonder if I should have waited for Canon to offer what I needed. But switching to Sony was the right decision at the time, and I have no regrets.

She’s cute, isn’t she?

I’ve now got a full arsenal of Sony gear – a backup body (the A73), a couple of zooms, several fast primes and two little pancake lenses that are perfect for travel. If I laid it all out on a couch, it’d look a lot like the Canon gear in the photos above. I haven’t done that just yet – like I said, the gear doesn’t really matter. I like it, though.

Thanks for looking, and feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

~Jaye

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