Nex7 and OMD and other Mirrorless cameras for wedding photography & others

Sony Nex7 with grip and flash
Nex7-Grip-Voightlander 40mm-Metz flash

[S]o…Canon vs Nikon for weddings or other events? I say mirorless cameras!

I went mirrorless ages ago and I never looked back. I actually cannot stand DSLRs anymore. I remember a friend pulling his canon in front of me and I could not believe how heavy and bulky the thing was! I've shot some professional stuff both with the OMD and the NEX7 and I believe both can hold their own against DSLRs.

In reality any good camera can do, I pull out my GRD more than once on assignment and I know of other photographers that also pull out their P&S often while on assignment (Usually a Canon G something). But what I am talking about here is mirrorless cameras as the main workhorse camera, the one always in your hands. In this article we will look at a point by point case at why one can use mirrorless cameras for weddings and other uses (concerts, food, etc).

wedding shoot bethesda by the sea, florida

Image quality
For pro uses only a crop of mirrorless cameras will do. The gap between high end cameras and bottom lower end cameras is like night and day and if you want to do professional shooting you will need a high end mirrorless to do the job. Off the top of my head I can name the Olympus OMD, Nex7, Fuji Xpro, Panasonic GH3 as great high end mirrorless cameras that can do the job (non exhaustive). I know a bunch of photographers that use the OMD and the X-Pro….I'm the only one I know that uses a Nex7. Image quality on these cameras are top notch in good condition and they can make great enlargements. The Nex7 especially has a megapixel power that rivals the full frames. Also impressively the OMD (12.3 EV) and the Nex7 (13.4 EV) have more dynamic range than the 5Dmark III (11.7 EV)

ISO Quality
But the problem with the mirrorless cameras is that the image quality usually cap at 3200 ISO. I start to sweat when I use 3200 even if the Nex and OMD can go up to about 10.000+.

nex 7 iso3200
Nex 7 – ISO3200

High end fullframe cameras files are pretty darn clean at 3200. Good thing is you probably need this kind of ISO only at the reception where flash is pretty much expected anyways.

Camera size
The advantage of mirrorless cameras is that they lack a prism and new technologies allows for really small bodies. I can't deal with the bulk of DSLRs anymore, everytime you have to go out it's like you have to take a medium bag with it…I shoot at events with all of my stuff in a small lowepro classified 140aw. I also think that the camera size is disconcerting to the guests, making them more comfortable then with a large camera with an uber 2.8 zoom.

Focus-FPS
What can I say? These babies are impressive with their 9-10fps! Compare that with the 5D Mark III that has 6 fps. The Focus on the OMD is fast but when you are shooting you are not really thinking about it. I use the NEX7 with a manual focus lens (so far) and I am as fast as I can focus…pretty snappy with the focus peaking.

Battery life
To shoot a whole event you need lots of battery power and cameras usually only have slots for one battery. Pro fullframe bodies always have a double battery built in or they have it as an add-on. The Panasonic GH3 and Olympus OMD have first party battery grips but they come at a premium price. The Sony Nex7 has third party grips (“Omnuser“) that are pretty cheap. They do not have the OMD grip sexyness but they do the job.

Memory
Up to date there are no mirrorless cameras that can handle two SD cards. What does that mean? You cannot set a 64gb card in and shoot a whole wedding since there is no backup card. There is a special adapter that allows you to put two micro SD cards in a memorystick for the sony cameras but they cannot mirror data. The remedial to this is to get a backup device that allows incremental backups, so that you pull out the card from time to time to back it up. Or you can just have a bunch of cards, preferably 4GB in case one goes wrong you do not loose a lot of images.

LensesYou cannot rival the lens lineup of either Nikon or Canon. Before investing into a system one must look at the lenses. The OMD has some good glass like the 45 1.8, 75 1.8, 17mm, etc. The Sony glass is pretty much unexciting but can handle any old lens easely because of focus peaking. The Fuji X line has very very good glass like the 35mm 1.4 hummmmm. The Nex7 has the crazy advantage to be loved by adapter manufactures that do autofocus adapters for it. So you can mount E mount on it, Canon lenses and eventually Contax G lenses on it with AF. So the Nex can act as a Canon body…but the issue is that it adds lots of bulk, sacrificing portability. The Xpro and OMD can mount any old lens but they do not have AF adapters and lack focus peaking so it's hard to nail your focus.

In the end that is my rationale behind adopting mirrorless cameras for weddings, so far I have no problem with them at all. Are you a pro with an OMD, Nex or Xpro? Would love it to hear your thoughts.

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20 thoughts on “Nex7 and OMD and other Mirrorless cameras for wedding photography & others”

  1. I would be wary of using an m4/3 for a white wedding – it’s just too easy to blow the whites, in my experience. The Fuji might be your best bet there.

    1. Whites are always a pain indeed, in my experience a little punch to the left of the highlight slider usually does the trick fine

  2. I’m intrigued as to how you get the Metz flash to work with the Sony. I have 32 Z-2 and would like to use it on a Panasonic DMC-L1 or the Olympus OM-D. Any suggestions?

    1. I used it on my OMD, I guess it should work on the Panasonic. These are great flashes IF you have the correct module. I had a standard module so I could not really control the flash output, only full power.

  3. I remember seeing a photo a few years back on a bus shelter ad poster(about 1metre x 1.5meters) taken by my friend on his canon G6 (7.1mpix) point and shoot, the photo was for a national ad campaign for a travel company and it looked clean printed that big, i don’t understand why some people think that M4/3 or APS-C mirrorless can’t be used for pro work, thanks for showing that it can!

    1. And thanks for that interesting example. I think the problem is preconceptions, pros have to use a certain type of care or else…..

  4. Luke Lee The Photographer

    I’m moving to sony after years of using Nikon for weddings.
    I was actually thinking how nex6 and nex7 would stand when it comes to focusing speed against a99.
    How do you find your nex7’s focusing speed?

    1. I have the 24mm 1.8 fast and silent. The incredible thing tough….is that Manual Focus grows on you, it’s just so easy, as fast as auto if you get used to it. There’s the La2 adapter for A mount lenses, it has a faster AF than the NEX7’s but kinda defeats the portability.

  5. Thanks for your article. I’m doing reportages on a Canon DSLR for a local newspaper. Some weeks ago I was alone out in the field and tried to do some special shot with my (backup) NEX 5r. After some minutes I thought why not try to shoot the whole story with the NEX? The assignment wasn’t very critical so I tried. And was surprised a lot. After editting ma RAWs in lightroom nobody could tell a difference. Nobody even asked if I used a different cam this time. Maybe I’ll get a NEX 6 and save a lot on weight? We’ll see.

      1. Got the NEX 6 and love it. Not sure if I should get an A7 as main body. Do you still use your NEX 7 with battery grip? I’m undecided whether to get one or not. Nobody I know owns one, so its not possible to try it out first.

  6. I’m so glad I came across this article! I have a Sony a6000, which is kind of the hybrid child of the NEX 6 and 7 with its 24MP sensor and 11fps. I really enjoy shooting with it and want to start shooting weddings but watching videos on youtube seem to consistently show that pros only use DSLRs. I began to wonder if I could do it with a mirrorless camera and was getting really discouraged. But seeing this article along with the comments and a few other articles gives me the confidence to step out of the norm and prove that I can do it with a mirrorless set! My a6000 and NEX 5N as back up! Thanks so much!

  7. Great article! I’ve been using mirrorless cameras for a few years and there’s no way back 😉 Can you imagine using only manual lenses as a pro photographer?

    1. Doing that still. I favor it. Although I now need something like a 18-55 2.8 and most of these things do not come with an aperture ring :/

  8. Pingback: Gear Up | Derek Pfister | Freelance Professional

  9. I don’t do pro wedding photography, but my friends often ask me to supplement the official photography with my more informal shots.
    I’ve just upgraded from an NEX-5 to an NEX-7. I have a host of sony e-mount lenses but currently have no flash. Which one(s) would you recommend?

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