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A Year with the Sony a7 III

One of the best purchases I’ve ever made

Tim holding up the Sony a7 III close to the camera

This morning I woke up to a Day One notification letting me know that a year ago today, my Sony α7 III arrived. The Sony α7 III is a full frame, 24-megapixel mirrorless camera. It has in-camera image stabilization, USB-C connectivity, and can shoot 4K video in up to 30 frames per second. On paper, it’s a fantastic camera, and after a year of real-world use, I enjoy the hell out of every moment I shoot with it.

Before this, I’d been using a Canon T7i DSLR. Nothing against it. It took great images and pretty solid video, but DSLRs aren’t easy to use. For those of us who came up in the smartphone era, using an optical viewfinder—which doesn’t represent the image you’ll get when you take the picture—can be pretty confusing. Nailing your exposure means taking all these test shots to make sure you’re dialed in correctly. The Canon T7i doesn’t have a joystick to move the focus point quickly, which meant having to focus and then reframe. These annoyances resulted in a lot of missed shots for me. We went on a trip where I took over 300 photos, and only about 75 of those were exposed correctly and in focus.

I’m not trying to tell you that with my Sony I automatically nail exposure every time or that every shot I take is somehow in focus. But it is a lot easier, and I miss fewer shots. In fairness, I only had a DSLR for about a year, but I knew pretty early on it wasn’t for me. Some more experienced photographers may say I didn’t give it enough time, and that may be true, but it’s essential to use a camera you’re comfortable with.

In the past year, I’ve taken more photos than probably the previous two years combined. One factor is that I love the camera, and learning its ins and outs hasn’t been too difficult. Second, is that I force myself to take it everywhere I go. Sometimes that’s inconvenient and annoying, but I never regret it. In fact, I wholeheartedly regret the few times I’ve convinced myself to leave the camera at home.

A year later, I’m still delighted with my purchase. It’s an incredible camera that has allowed me to capture some great moments in me and my family’s life. But more importantly, it’s a camera I’ve become well acquainted with and enjoy using. In the end, that’s the secret.