Around the end of May 2021, I started looking around for my first mirrorless camera set. I wanted a camera set that I could use for a minimum of 5-10 years.

I was once told by a salesman at a camera store that they expect people to buy a new camera every two to three years to update their current set. Update the camera model and with luck use the old lenses, or also switch to new models, with a new mount and much better glass.

When that mount or model change happens no one knows. One can keep an eye out on rumor websites, but will that help? Lucky enough almost all models I was keeping an eye out for were pretty new models and with the latest mounts.

The Canon R5, The Nikon Z7 II, the Fuji GFX 50S II, and the Sony A7RVI were on my list. Prices were different in 2021, so writing this almost a year later is hard to recall all those prices. There were several technical specifications I was looking for, I also looked at the build of the camera and the price of a set.

The Nikon Z7 II with 24-70mm f/4.0 lens was/is the set with the lowest price. The Fuji GFX 50S II with GF 25-70mm lens came in second. The Sony A7RIV with FE24-105 f/4.0 lens came in third and the most expensive set of them all still was and is the Canon R5 with RF24-105 f/4.0 lens.

But, the first set that left the race was the Canon R5. Overheating was something that pushed me over the edge. No camera should do that. Not a single time, unless the circumstances are working against it: desert-like temperatures. Firmware updates have solved a couple of problems, but not all. Cashback was also meant for students only.

Fuji was dropped out of the race after a warning. Some models have dropped their retail price considerably in the years before. The model, the resolution, and the sensor size were very interesting. The price, the menu structure, and uncertainty around having a GPS function made me drop that model too.

Nikon and Sony were so close and from what I know today it could have become a near win for Nikon. Still, that one function of having GPS information added to the photos was uncertain for Nikon. Information was hard to find and I asked around at shops that call themselves Nikon dealers. None of them could tell me the answer. Crazy!

There I was. Sitting behind a table in Zwolle. Studying the menu of a Sony A7RIV with an FE24-105mm f/4.0 lens. The camera felt good in my hands and the camera covered 95% of my wish list. One function missing: GPS information. Why did they all remove those chips from their cameras or the possibility to upgrade the camera with a GPS receiver? No decent answer from the dealer, so I went home. To think, to look around on the Internet, to find an answer.

The next day I returned with the answer. Youtube gave me the right solution. So I went back, sat at the same table with the camera, and test the Sony Imaging Edge app. The video playing on my laptop with all the instructions. Step by step I followed all of them. Moments later I knew for sure: the A7RIV would become my new mirrorless camera.

A big surprise was the price. With a very nice 25-year anniversary discount and a cashback on both the camera body and the lens, it was closing in on my price. One more step to go: trading in my Fuji XT2, three lenses, batteries, and a double flash set. They had to check the condition of everything. That last step was the most important one, but they offered a very good price for my old set. My first Sony in years, with 61 Megapixels, 4K video, and dual memory card slots. Such an incredibly cool camera together with a lens with a big [G] on the side. Ready to make new memories of our family, friends, and trips.

Looking back now, almost a year later I have become a happy Sony customer. I invested in more glass: Sony FE12-24mm f/4.0, Sony FE24-70mm f/4.0 Zeiss lens, and a Sony FE70-200mm f/4.0. When the camera is set to crop mode (35mm) all of these lens millimeters can be multiplied by a factor of 1.5x. So I can make pictures between 12-200 on full-frame or 18 to 300mm in 35 Megapixels. The menu system still is a learning/searching curve, but having the capability to add menu items to the ‘My Menu’ is very nice.

The only thing to do now is to take pictures and work with the camera, the best I can, and more importantly: enjoy doing that. Which is no problem at all with this A camera.

May and June are often the best months to buy a new camera. Companies have very interesting prices for sets available and look out for cashback actions. It is always tempting to buy online, but believe me, camera shops are hungry for your money and they give you a chance to check out the new camera. Ask if you can sit down or walk around inside the shop, bring your own memory card and try to take some photos. A new camera you buy for years, you look forward to using the camera for a long time. Make a wishlist and clean up your old camera for a trade-in, unless you are planning to keep it. Don’t make hasty decisions. It is a serious investment. One to enjoy and you want it to be the best you can buy.

One more thing: with a great new camera comes more to buy: extra batteries, the best and fastest memory cards available, camera insurance, perhaps a camera cage for protection, cleaning tools for lens and sensor cleaning, cleaning cloth, the best backpack or traveling bag you can find and software to work with your new images.

I have four original batteries which will last me a very busy shooting day, I use Sony Tough memory cards in 128 (300MB/sec writing speed) and 256 GB (170MB/sec writing speed) capacity. DSV has decent camera insurance for the body and all of my lenses. A Smallrig aluminum cage protects the camera and offers a lot of place for mounting stuff on it. To clean the camera and sensor I have a cleaning kit from VSGO. The best backpack for me comes from Shimoda Designs. Last but not least: software. You can buy a lot of software on the market for your photos. Adobe Lightroom CC combined with Photoshop CC still gives me the best workflow. I have a decent amount of photos stored in a database (350.000+ photos), it works with all the models I have used in the past and gets regular updates for new cameras and functions which will help you enhance your beautiful pictures.

I hope you will find your perfect camera. These were my personal choices and you might find that your own is very different from mine. I do hope you will find a shop that will get the best you can buy. Take your time and make no hasty decisions. In the end, you are the one who has to work with the new camera. Good luck!

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