Matt Granger, an Australian YouTube vlogger who specialises in gear reviews and tutorials, is now backing Sony full-frame mirrorless systems after years of articulating issues with the company and its products.
Granger’s YouTube channel has over 658,000 subscribers, making him one of the most popular Australian photography video bloggers. In 2016 he posted a viral video slamming Sony for its inadequate customer service for professionals, and he’s a self-confessed ‘fuddy-duddy’ Nikon DSLR shooter.
He lists seven primary problems with Sony, with the customer service experience in 2016 pushing him over the edge to sell all his Sony gear. He’s now recognised that Sony listened to customer feedback and drastically improved its products and services. He claims Sony has addressed five of the seven issues.
The seven issues are:
– Poor battery life, with long lags and big black outs;
– Slow shooting speed and AF;
– Ergonomics were the ‘worst if the market’, with grip size and button placement;
– Lens line up really lacking and expensive;
– Terrible customer service;
– Shocking menus;
– Social media marketing and engaging influencers
‘To their (Sony’s) credit, they’ve pretty much resolved all but two of them and they now stand alone as a true leader in the photography industry at the start of 2020,’ he said in the video. ‘And the big traditional players like Canon and Nikon really had better step up, lift their game, if they want to be around in five years time.’
So here’s what he has to say:
Sony’s NP-FW50 battery life was terrible, forcing Granger to carry a half dozen batteries to last a full day of shooting. They were also prone to overheating when shooting video. The newer NP-FZ100 battery is far superior and lasts an adequate amount of time, and the overheating issues also appear to have been addressed.
In early 2016 when Nikon released the D5 , Granger points out that one of the big claims was the DSLR had superior tech compared with a mirrorless full-frame system. Specifically, at the tendency for mirrorless cameras to be slow, buggy, and have poor autofocus.
‘Without a doubt, the Sonys have put every serious player on notice. The a9 is incredible in terms of autofocus and overall speed, lack of black outs,’ he said.
After decades of shooting with DSLRs, Granger said the Sony cameras just didn’t feel right in hand. Too small, weird grips, strange button placements. However, the A7r IV, and a9 II are ‘a world ahead’ of previous models.
By sheer co-incidence, days after Granger slammed Sony Australia’s lack of a dedicated pro service, the company unveiled Sony Imaging Pro Support.
As for lenses, Granger points out there is now a huge range and they are no longer overly-expensive. In the video he segues into an advertorial about a second-hand lens service he endorses, but it’s also worth highlighting the wide range of high quality third-party glass from the likes of Sigma and Tamron.
The two problems Granger doesn’t think Sony has fixed, and most likely won’t ever fix, are its menu systems compared with other companies, and its focus on Instagram influencers. He doesn’t think the menu system will change to benefit a handful of Nikon or Canon shooters who moved to the Sony eco-system, as it would be to the detriment of long-time Sony users who haven’t tried these apparently superior menu systems.
‘Likewise I don’t like the way Sony engages with “social media influencers” and Instagrammers. But the influencers seem to like the way they are engaged with, and it’s clearly working for them. So I don’t think that’s going to change,’ he said.
‘Having said all of that, you have to give Sony credit. It seems they have really listened to feedback and criticisms and seriously improved their products. It’s not just new sensors and fancy new autofocus. The main issues that were holding them back in my opinion, as an old fuddy duddy DSLR shooter, have pretty much been addressed.
‘Now with Canon and Nikon finally joining the mirrorless market, they are going through all the same growing pains Sony went through three, four, or five years ago. But they don’t seem to have the same momentum or speed of building the lens line up that Sony did. So I really hope that those guys take this seriously and knuckle down.’