Tour Life with a Mirrorless Camera vs DSLR

For a few years, I've been a Tour Photographer/Music Photographer, working with artists like Anthony Hamilton, Common, Janelle Monae, Lecrae, and Kem, to name a few. 

I recently finished an 8 week long tour with Anthony Hamilton & Fantasia, documenting Anthony's tour life. The captures included video (90%) and photos (10%). For this tour, I only used one camera body, a Sony a7r II (mirrorless), and two lenses, a Sony 35mm f/1.4 Zeiss and a Sony 55mm f/1.8 Zeiss.

Photo of the venue, for opening night. Note: this is an iPhone photo. I was out for a quick job; didn't have my camera with me.

Photo of the venue, for opening night. Note: this is an iPhone photo. I was out for a quick job; didn't have my camera with me.

Previously, I toured with a Canon bag, using a Canon 5D Mark III body, and all Canon lenses, including a 70-200mm f/2.8 Mark I, 50mm f/1.4, and 24-70mm f/2.8 Mark I.

The immediate discovery is the obvious difference in weight, and the size of the camera bag needed. I went from carrying a very large Lowepro ProRunner 350 AW backpack, to a rather small one, Lowepro Format BP 150. I did however miss out on the 70-200mm focal length, in certain situations. But, not so much that I'd carry that bulky lens for 8 weeks.

A second discovery, was the ease of use, when shooting run & gun video with artists. The Canon 5D's lack of tracking/auto-focus for video, used to hurt me a lot. I haven't mastered manually focusing video yet. So, the Sony does that work for me.

Photo of the lobby ceiling, of the Fox Theatre in Detroit.

Photo of the lobby ceiling, of the Fox Theatre in Detroit.

At a point in the tour, I picked up my Canon 70-200 f/12.8, from home, and my CommLite Lens Adapter, to use on the Sony body. It worked quite well for me. Not a perfect setup, but it got the job done for sure. I have yet to figure out why Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is almost $3,000, so I will have to settle for the adapted Canon lens, when needed.

Sony a7r II with a Canon 70-200mm f/12.8 lens, via a CommLite adapter.

Sony a7r II with a Canon 70-200mm f/12.8 lens, via a CommLite adapter.

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