Why I Upgraded to a Sony A7RII
I’ve actually been getting a lot of “gear” questions lately do I figured I’d address something that’s been coming up fairly regularly for me lately… my gear and Sony vs Nikon.
A little over a year ago, I made a really smart and a really stupid decision by adding a Sony A7RII to my kit. It was a really smart idea because it’s a relatively small yet incredibly powerful piece of photography equipment I intended to use heavily, but at the same time, it was a really dumb idea for me because of the very hefty price tag that came along with it. Sticker shock was really tough to swallow.
So Why the Upgrade?
Back in 2013, I had a Sony NEX-6 that I used while traveling through Central America and Southeast Asia. It was great to have because it was just so small that I had it on me at nearly all times when I didn’t want to lug around my larger DSLR setup (D7000 back then) and backpack. However, upon returning from those trips, I was just never thrilled with the picture quality from the Sony NEX-6, particularly when pixel-peeping. Because I wasn’t happy with the quality, it began to simply collect dust on a closet shelf until I sold it a year later. Once again, I found myself lugging a DSLR and full backpack around and so once again, I found myself leaving my camera behind to lighten my load.
I needed (fine…“wanted”…) something smaller and more compact.
Having jumped into full-frame sensors a few years ago with a Nikon D750, I felt like there is no going back to cropped sensors (at least for a workhorse camera) so in doing my research and knowing myself, the Sony A7RII seemed like my next move to get the quality I now need. (Yes, that is not a “want.”) I rented one first because I wanted to be sure before I bought one (BorrowLenses.com) and I can’t say I fell head-over-heels in love with it, but the thing was damn impressive – I was really stoked on the image quality and it fit in my girlfriend’s purse one night when we went to dinner. (She offered to pack-mule it for the night!)
For me, the upgrade boiled down to the relationship between an incredibly powerful tool relative to the size of the setup. The combination of that power and small size (note: not the “weight”) is what ended up selling me. It’s a huge punch packed in to a portable body that I’m more willing to carry around at all times.
Am I jumping Ship on Nikon?
When doing my research, I felt like a lot of the articles and reviews I found on the Sony A7RII had some kind of “I’ve sold off all my Nikon/Canon gear and completely converted to Sony” type of clause or disclaimer. I’ve been shooting Nikon for a decently long time now so will I now be jumping ship as well?
My Nikon D750 is also a fantastically powerful body and my go-to Nikkor 14-24mm is an incredible lens. I plan on keeping it around because:
- FPS & Ergonomics – Although neither are “sports cameras,” the Nikon D750’s FPS is still slightly higher than the A7RII’s so I intend on still using that for certain events and shoots. Ergonomically, I find it’s also much easier to make quick settings changes to the D750 that are needed fast on commercial and portrait shoots than having to delve into a Sony menu to make the same changes.
- Battery Life – There is no comparison on battery life between the two cameras and for long shoots, I’d much rather be shooting with the trusty Nikon batteries in the D750. Last summer, I was shooting the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail and at a kayak event, I was next to a guy shooting with an A7RII. The event was really heavy action for about an hour straight and I not only watched him change his battery half-way through, but by the end, he was tethered to an external battery back. My D750 didn’t even lose one bar on the battery indicator and was essentially still full.
- Portability – Real Estate and (most) commercial shoots don’t involve hiking miles in to the wilderness so carrying a larger setup, now including lighting gear, on these shoots is still not really an issue.
- Backup – I like having 2 setups not only in order to multitask, but also in case one body is being cleaned, repaired (as is the case right now with the D750 shutter recall!), or out of commission for any other reason. (Including if it takes a swim in some hot springs because I’m an idiot….)
- Meh – Resale value… just seems like a pain in the butt to try to sell it off for a relatively low return…
My Sony A7RII has become the camera that gets thrown into my backpack for long hikes or trips around the world, while my Nikon D750 is my main camera for a lot of real estate, commercial, and portrait work since that’s typically all within close proximity to my car.
So far, I’ve been super happy with this arrangement.