I finally did it… I switched to mirrorless

Tips & Techniques

Yes, I said it!!! I sold my DSLRs and bought a brand new, out of the box, mirrorless camera body. Here is the last of my “DSLR to mirrorless” journey articles with (of course!) the big announcement of who between the Olympus OM-D E-M1X or the Sony a9 stole my heart!

If you haven’t been following my journey, you can read the earlier parts in this series here.

A Tinder-like adventure

I like to compare my mirrorless quest to a Tinder match. First step: You look at the picture. Yeah, nice lookin’! Step two: Let’s learn a little more about you. Then, you transform yourself into a detective that even the CIA couldn’t match by first stalking their Instagram-Facebook-LinkedIn-Website-YouTube feeds and look at every possible review online. What are we looking for? We want to see if our potential match fits our values, our goals and (super important) our lifestyle.

Of course, every prospect will fulfill different needs for different people (luckily … otherwise everyone would want to marry the same person or use the same camera …). Based on my very personal wants and desires, there were a couple of characteristics I was really looking for in a new camera. Fast autofocus, great low noise performance at high ISOs, extra fast burst rate, lightweight and solid stabilization capabilities. These topped my list of “won’t-live-without.”

Sony a9 + Sony 28mm f/2 at f/2, 1/100, ISO 640 edited with Aurora HDR 2019

Swipe right

I swept right for two of them (which you already know by now were the Sony a9 and the Olympus E-M1X). Based on their features, I thought both of them were in a very good place to suit my needs and I was looking forward to meeting both of them.

Sony a9 + Sony Sonnar 55mm f/1.8 ZA at f/1.8, 1/800, ISO 2500 edited with Luminar Flex

Looking in each other’s eyes

You know how it is. You stare at your computer or your cellphone screen for weeks. Daydreaming about how it would be if you ever met IRL. Everything that was written seemed so perfect, how could this NOT be love at first sight? I had very high hopes for both Mr. A (aka a9) and Mr. X (aka. E-M1X). And as you know exactly what I am talking about, you also know a single date — in real life — will either confirm or crush those hopes. Because it’s not only about “features” and “theory,” it’s all about chemistry! You will only know if it fits when you finally look into each other’s eyes and then actually DO something together!

Sony a9 + Sony 85mm f/1.8 at f/2.8, 1/1600s, ISO 100, edited with Aurora HDR 2019 and Luminar Flex

Love at first click

Sometimes, the magic happens. Like … you KNOW he’s THE ONE. Everything flows. And it is exciting. And he makes you feel like you’re starting doing photography again. Some people have already experienced it, some others haven’t (yet) or don’t even believe in it. Every photographer has a way to handle his/her photographic love life. Some of you might think it’s too early for me to say but I am not afraid now to shout out from the rooftops … I AM IN LOVE!

YES, I AM IN LOVE!

And so was I when I handed a huge smile my hard earned money to the cashier. I had a deep conviction at this very moment, I was totally doing the right thing. That’s how I said “I do!” to this extremely fast, extremely smart and extremely beautifully performing specimen. I want him to be by my side, through all my good and bad photoshoots. I know having him as my partner will not prevent challenging days. But I know I can now rely on him to give me all that he’s got to help me succeed.

One last surprise

As Mr. A and I acquired some new lenses to kick off our life together, I indulged with one last bold investment. I preordered the new Sony 135mm f/1.8 GM lens. Hey, you know weddings are not cheap nowadays! This lens is a part of our honeymoon budget …

Sony a9 + Sony 90mm Macro G f/2.8 at f/2.8, 1/250s, ISO 1600, edited with Luminar Flex

My humble story

That sure looks rainbows and butterflies and maybe even a unicorn or two, doesn’t it? But I really want you to know, all of this has not been (and still isn’t) an easy road. I started in photography as a lot of us do, with no money. I had a hard time finding the budget to buy my first camera — a used Nikon D5000 — for 400$CAD. From there, I went back to school full time to learn photography with no other income than my freelance contracts. When I finally got little money in the bank, I purchased my first full-frame (a used Nikon D750).

Every dime I ever made I reinvested in my photography. I still live in a 400 square foot studio (with a real human husband — can you believe it?!) and I still drive an 11-year-old Honda Civic. I could’ve taken the a9 budget to clear my student loan, have a cash down payment for a house or buy myself a new(er) car. But I chose to put it all back into my photography.

In case some of you are wondering: No, I am not richer than anyone else. The only reason I’ve been able to upgrade my business, my skills and my gear is that I am willing to make choices and the needed sacrifices according to achieve the priorities that really matter to me. Nothing has been given to me. I worked — and still am working — very hard. I love what I do. This is what fulfils me. I am extremely grateful to all the people and opportunities that came along the way.

If you have a passion burning deep inside of you — be it photography or gardening or music — by all means, DO IT with all your heart. You’ll realize the harder you work, the luckier you get. Before long, you’ll be surprised by all the amazing things you can accomplish with your indomitable will.

Sony a9 + Sony Sonnar 55mm f/1.8 ZA at f/3.2, 1/800s, ISO 2000, edited with Luminar Flex

See, it’s not the end. It’s the beginning!

I’m really enthusiastic for what’s coming my way in 2019. I can’t wait to share my new projects with you — which could very well start with a review of my highly anticipated 135mm lens.

It might be the end of my “DSLR to Mirrorless” saga but I can assure you, it’s only the beginning of my love story. I want you to be part of what comes next, every step of the way … With Mr. A and me … And our hundreds of children to come.

This is the sixth part of my “DSLR to Mirrorless” journey. If you jumped into my Michèle-seeks-camera-love saga a little late and are interested in reading my full story, here are the links to the firstsecondthirdfourth and fifth articles.

About the Author

Michele has developed a distinctive expertise as a sports portrait photographer. Specializing in commercial, event and advertising photography, she helps companies and professionals in the industry to stand out and showcase their products and services with striking, high-quality images. She has created portraits of dozens of national and international athletes in more than twenty disciplines and realized numerous projects with major sports-related organizations and events such as Atlas Project, Lululemon, LYFT-RX and XPN World. See her portfolio: www.michelegrenierphoto.com. This article was also published on Photofocus and shared with permission.

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