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Sony Upgrade?

Barb G

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I have a old Sony a55. Doesn’t have a high count on it, used mainly on vacations. Now that I’m working part time I have time to get back to photography. Started learning to shoot manual recently, using back button focus and in RAW. I’ve changed the focusing mode and focusing points numerous times but don’t seem to be able to get really sharp photos anymore. Not sure if it’s me or the old camera. Would upgrading to a newer Sony model be a good idea? Looking at a7 iii. Money isn’t really an issue, and tired of fuzzy photos. 
I have all Sony a lens and have only used Sony so prefer to stay Sony unless you have other recommendations. I’d heard Sony was retiring the a series and new lens would no longer be available but not sure if this is true. 

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Back-Button Focus is not the end-all-and-be-all that it's made to be. It's a technique, just like everything else. What burns people the most these days is the higher the MP you go on the camera, the faster the shutter speed you must use. Plus, Image Stabilization / Vibration Reduction in lenses helps greatly these days, especially with high MP cameras. So it's just not the camera body and focus modes, quality lenses make all the difference as well.

The other thing with Sony, and Nikon camera bodies is to make sure you are using the latest firmware. Often, especially in the Mirrorless world, firmware upgrades really make a difference. In fact, the latest round of Firmware Updates for the Nikon Z6 and Z7 really improved focusing to where it's really usable and has give a Sony a run for its money. 

OK, speaking of Sony. The Sony A7 Mark III is a decent camera. It's at the bottom end of the full frame line-up that we get from Sony. It's well regarded from what I can tell, (I'm a Nikon DSLR Shooter) and the Measurebators on the internet seem to be having a love-affair with Sony. The issue I have with Sony, is what lenses are you going to be looking at to pair it up with? Because quality lenses, are not cheap. If it were up to me, I'd look at either getting a 24-70 f/2.8 lens or a 24-105 f/4 lens. There is a sale currently running due to the holidays, so it's worth saving a few dollars. Here is a decent Sony Kit, for about $4000 at B&H.

For a comparison, I recently held a Nikon Z6 camera with a Nikon 24-120mm f/4 lens attached, with F-Mount adapter. I was able to hand-held at 1/15th of a second, and get a tack-sharp photo, zoomed out to 200mm. Needless to say, I was really impressed. So much that when Nikon comes out with a professional-grade Mirrorless body, I will be in line to get one. The nice part with the Nikon Z system is that with the F-Mount Adapter, you have a broad range of lens choices to utilize. So between the two, sure you can stay with Sony, but both Nikon and Canon have a clear lens and lens mount strategy going forward. Between Canon and Nikon Mirrorless, I'd pick Nikon at this point.

As far as the Sony a55 series. if all you have is a 18-55mm kit lens to go with it, that's really a consumer-grade entry-level kit. So I'm not surprised you aren't getting good results. That said, knowing what Shutter Speed, ISO, Aperture to use plus the correct focusing system are the real ingredients to getting good photographs. I have really expensive / pro-grade gear, with all the fancy lenses. I have spent A LOT of money in the past 12 or so years on this sh*t, and guess what? I still take awful photographs from time-to-time. I still blow it.....just with a fancy camera & lens. So while gear does play a role, ESPECIALLY WITH QUALITY PRO-GRADE LENSES, technique and you as the photographer are a bigger role.

Whatever path you choose, should be a big improvement. There is a huge difference between the consumer-grade stuff and high-end/pro stuff. Right now if you are able, visit a camera store that has both the Nikon and Sony Camera bodies on display. Play with them. Fiddle with them. Go through the menus, see which one is easier to use. You might be surprised that Sony may not be in your future, but another brand. Remember, not only are you buying into a Brand, but a LENS SYSTEM. What lenses do you see purchasing in the next few years? 

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