Should You Buy the Sony A7RII?
Should you Buy the Sony A7RII – Last week I posted up why I upgraded to the Sony A7RII, but another question I’ve been getting is should you? What have I liked about it? And what haven’t I liked about it?
Pros of the Sony A7RII
I say “size” and not “weight” for a reason. Relatively speaking, it’s not that light especially when you take in to account the extra batteries you most likely need to carry (more on that later…). With the Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens, the Sony A7RII comes in at 2.52 pounds, which is actually only 1.33 pounds lighter than my Nikon setup. (A D750 with 14-24mm Nikkor is 3.85 pounds total). A 1.33-pound difference is big, but I don’t think it’s extremely significant to spend a good amount of money on the upgrade.
For me, it was the overall size of the footprint that won me over in the end because it is clearly smaller than my Nikon setup. The first time I got to play with the Sony A7RII, I was able to it in my girlfriend’s purse and take it out for the night – that is definitely not possible for my Nikon setup! And sure, there are still even much smaller setups out there, especially crop-sensor mirrorless, but for the amount of power and quality that’s packed in to the comparatively small full-frame A7RII body, that slightly larger trade-off was worth it for me.
Fantastic Image Quality & a 42.2 Megapixel Sensor
The full-frame backside illuminated CMOS sensor provides some pretty incredible image quality being able to capture light more efficiently while speeding up data processing (up to 3.5x faster) for decreased buffering. The A7RII handles high ISO’s very well, holds-up for long exposure night work and has just below 14-stops of dynamic range. Blah blah blah… images and video look great and 42.2 megapixels is a huge asset as I get more into fine prints. (Wink, wink…)
No Mirror (duh)
Without the mirror, the EVF is showing you the end product image as your composing and capturing it. You are looking at the processed image allowing you to fine-tune your exposure if needed. For me, there’s no more chimping (image reviewing) needed after I shoot since what I saw if what I got.
Five-Axis IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization) (SteadyShot)
This was semi-important to me because with my laziness that sometimes (often…) occurs when traveling, this feature will allow me to shoot at slightly slower shutter speeds and hopefully avoid blurry images by the IBIS counteracting five types of camera shake (X, Y, Roll, Yaw, Pitch). This is also a good benefit with hand-held video. This doesn’t fix my laziness, but it just kind of helps.
Beautiful Internal 4K Video
The 4K video is beautiful and at the touch of a button. (You have to have a Class 10 U3 rated SD card to make this work.)
Solid Bracketing Options
I bracket a lot of my landscape shots and I kept reading a lot of negativity about Sony lacking solid bracketing features, but that’s not the case with the A7RII.
Build & Quality
For being so small, the ergonomics of the body are really comfortable (on par with the much larger D750) and with the magnesium alloy body, it’s been able to take the beating I’ve already put it through. It’s also decently weather resistant (water/dust) so again, it holds up in tough conditions, especially with all the desert and beach time I pursue.
I always thought tilting screens were a gimmick as well, but I love ‘em now.
Luckily I don’t need this often because I’m pretty good with battery management, but the A7RII can be charged with a Micro USB from an external power-pack, which helps extend its life in the field.
Cons of the Sony A7RII
Not much to write here and there’s no two ways about it – It was not cheap and had I not gotten a surprise bonus from my non-photography-related job, I probably wouldn’t have done this.
This should be a shock, but the batteries simply don’t last long, especially when compared to trusty DSLR batteries. The A7RII batteries are rated for 340 shots and I haven’t tracked my shots, but I’ve definitely ripped through some batteries at less. They don’t stand a chance on cold days either – I shot sunrise one morning when it was -10° out (felt colder…), put a new battery in that displayed 98%, and I literally took 9 images (3 brackets) when I got the “battery exhausted” message.
On the plus side, the A7RII comes with 2 batteries and you can also charge the battery in-camera with the included microUSB cable/charger.
LCD Tilt & Quality
Even though I love the articulating screen, I wish it was flexible to more positions, particularly to flip out sideways. It’s also only been a little over a year and the screen is really scratched up.
Only 1 SD slot
I simply got spoiled with duel SD slots on my DLSRs. There’s been a few times when shooting that I haven’t paid attention and next thing I know I’m scrambling trying to find a new SD card in my bag because I accidentally ran out of space.
Yeah, technically it’s lighter than my DLSR setup, but I was shocked when I first picked the Sony A7RII up – it feels like a brick. As I mentioned above, the size was the ‘pro’ for me, not the weight.
I know that’s a pretty weak ‘cons’ list and for good reason – I’ve absolutely love this camera. So should you buy the Sony A7RII? I dunno… but I’ve been really, really happy with my decision.
Hit me up if you have any questions.