Looking for Some Advice: Which A7 to Get?

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by ijm5012, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. ijm5012

    ijm5012 TalkEmount Regular

    Apr 5, 2013
    Hello fellow e-mounters,

    It's been a while since I've been over here, spending most of my time over on mu-43 as I own two GH4's, and a host of m43 lenses (f/2.8 zooms, fast primes, telephotos, etc.). I switched over to the m43 system after a short stint with an NEX-6, but as they always say, "the grass is greener...". I am very happy with the switch, as the m43 system is quite excellent IMO, and has served me well so far. However I recently decided to purchase a set of three Canon FD lenses along with a focal reducer, to give me a set of fast, manual focus primes that weren't focus-by-wire, allowing me to generate some nice, steady and smooth focus pulls. This is when the itch began...

    I have a Canon FDn 24/2, 50/1.4, 100/2, all of which I'm very happy with using on my GH4. With aids like focus peaking and focus magnification, obtaining focus is quite easy. However the one thing that has left me somewhat unsatisfied with my m43 gear is loss of detail/smudging when really pushing the RAW files with shadows. I recently got in to doing long exposures and sunrises/sunsets, and can't help but think the better ISO performance of a FF sensor (roughly 1.5 stops over the sensor my GH4 according to DXO, FWIW), paired with a 1-stop lower native ISO (100 on an A7 vs 200 on my GH4), could make a difference when it comes to shooting difficult scenes with lots of shadows where I want to maintain detail when manipulating the RAW file. If I do pick up a FF camera, I'd add an FDn 35/2 (I really like the 35mm FoV), a 20/2.8 (something wider than 24mm is very helpful when shooting indoors or in tight cities), and an 80-200 f4 L (I use my 35-100 f/2.8 a surprising amount of the time on my GH4, so this would give me equivalent FoV and excellent image quality).

    I'd like to spend around $1000, less if possible, which leaves with me three options:
    • An original A7
    • An A7R
    • An A7II
    I have no problem buying used (almost every lens/camera body I own I've purchased used, and haven't had any issues yet *knock on wood*). I'd likely not be looking to buy until after the new year, since I'll likely rent a camera for a few days over Christmas break. This may be advantageous for me though, since body prices will continue to fall, and we may see some more used bodies pop up after Christmas when Santa brings people their upgrades :).

    The benefits of the A7II are obvious, with IBIS being useful for shooting prime lenses, as well as larger grip (the GH4 fits my hand perfectly, and the A7II looks like it should be close). It also has an additional customization button, which may come in handy (I love all of the customization on my GH4's). Right now I see them going for around $1100, +/- $50. I figure after the new year the used prices will drop to around $1k.

    The A7R would be great with its 36MP and no AA filter, but I don't know if I need 36MP, the original A7-style body doesn't seem as ergonomic as the new one, and the shutter is obviously quite loud, something that may not be advantageous when shooting indoors or at night. It lacks IBIS, which is a nice feature to have when shooting stationary objects hand-held. I'm seeing used prices hover around $900-950 currently.

    Then there is the A7, which I have the same general concerns about the A7R: no IBIS, body design, etc. The big benefit of the original A7 is that it's cheap, as I've seen prices around $650-750.

    So, I'm all ears for anyone who has some advice to share, keeping in mind that I'd be picking this up to use strictly as MF with Canon FD class. Maybe some people have had experiences with multiple cameras I've mentioned above, and can shed some useful light on my situation. Anything is appreciated! And I've included some images below of the type of shots I'd be looking to replace using my GH4 with an A7 with.






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  2. Deadbear77

    Deadbear77 TalkEmount Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    Northeast Ohio
    If you are going to use legacy glass I would opt for a used A7ii. The stabilization is more than worth it. I can shoot at 1/8 handheld with my canon 55 1.2 and get at least 90% focus rate.
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Like Like x 1
  3. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Yeah, the A7II makes much more sense if you'll be using adapted lenses exclusively :)
    i'd go for the A7II too :)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Feb 4, 2013
    If i were you (and I pretty much am) I'd get an A6000 and a metabones speed booster for Canon FD mount.

    The image quality is basically the same as an A7 when using legacy lenses. And this way you can still afford an autofocus lens and stick to your budget.

    The A7 series is really for people happy to blow $3k and over.
  5. adwb

    adwb TalkEmount Regular

    Sep 30, 2015
    Bristol UK
    Di would suggest a A7 original, as you say they are now very well priced used for what you are getting. The lack of stabilisation is not realy as much of a issue for you as with the exception of the last example you shoot be able to produce hand held sharp images with legacy glass as long as you watch your shutter speed.
    If you use tripod extensively there is even less need for stabilisation.
    The extra button is nice but not required, the body size is small but nice to hold and I came from 10+ years of chunky pentax bodies, see if you can find one to try take some test shots to evaluate .
    I have changed mine for the rmk2 but that's because I have a specific need for the higher ISO rating but I have to say I am in the minority who preferred the old body shape and the the old dial style the new ones are awful
  6. pbizarro

    pbizarro Guest

    Contrary to what someone wrote above, the A7 series is for people who want their lenses to behave as intended. 24mm to be 24mm, etc.

    A used A7II would be perfect for you, if you can not stretch the budget, get a used A7, still very good.
  7. jpfigueiredo

    jpfigueiredo TalkEmount Regular

    Jan 15, 2015
    Leiria, Portugal
    I own the original A7 (also bought it used) and, at the time, was also on the fence between it and the A7II.

    Now, 10 months later, I'm glad I made this decision , and mainly for two reasons:

    1. The problems that I have (when I have them) with blurred shots is 99% of the times related to the subject moving and not because my hand was shaking;
    2. A few months ago I've held an A7II in my hands, and I have to say that I was glad that my A7 wasn't as big and heavy as that.

    So, yeah, my opinion is to go with the original A7 and keep some extra money in your pocket.

    As a final note, I use the A7 exclusively with legacy MF lenses (Nikkor AI, Canon FD and a couple of Voigtländers).
  8. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    I was in the same situation one two months ago (going from a nex-6 to an ff e-mount) and faced the same dilemma between the a7 and a7ii. Unfortunately, i couldn't stretch my budget another 500 euros so went for the original A7. I'm not gonna lie though - if I had the extra money, I'd definately go with the a7ii without a thought :) So for me, I guess it all has to do with the budget ;)
  9. chalkdust

    chalkdust TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Sep 25, 2015
    Bert Cheney
    The A7ii is the oldest of the current A7* series so it is likely to be the next one to be replaced with a new model. I have no information about that, but based upon history, such a new model could be announced in first or second quarter of 2016. At that time, the prices on both A7 and A7ii might go down a bit. I do not consider this to be worthy of being a strong factor in your decisions, but to be worth knowing.
  10. ijm5012

    ijm5012 TalkEmount Regular

    Apr 5, 2013
    Thanks to everyone who responded and shared their opinion, it's much appreciated.

    I can definitely make the budget work to stretch for an A7II, so that's not a concern. The shots I show in my original post were all taken on a tripod, most of them in bulb mode, however I would like the ability to take the A7 (whatever variant it is), and take it street shooting with some prime lenses in a shoulder bag, and that's where I really think the A7II excels (along with the ergonomics).

    If I was only going to be tripod shooting, I would likely go for the A7R just due to the increased sharpness and resolution, but since that likely wont' be the only type of shooting I'll be doing with the camera, the A7II is likely the best fit (unfortunately, the A7RII is out of my budget).
  11. ijm5012

    ijm5012 TalkEmount Regular

    Apr 5, 2013
    I honestly would be surprised if they announced an A7 III in 2016, for a couple reasons:
    • The original A7 was a stop-gap IMO. Sony wanted to get a FF mirrorless camera out there to ensure they were first to market, but knew that the A7II would come along shortly thereafter to improve upon what couldn't be incorporated in the original A7
    • There's nothing on the market to really challenge the A7II as it stands today. I mean, Nikon has the D750 which isn't going to be replaced anytime soon, and Canon supposedly will be releasing the 6D II, but knowing Canon it'll probably be at a handicap from the get-go. AFAIK, no one else is going to be joining the FF mirrorless market anytime soon.
    • With the FW upgrade just announced for the A7II, what can Sony upgrade via hardware? Sure, they may be able to improve the focusing a bit, a newer processor for slightly better noise performance, eliminate the AA filter, but that's a pretty marginal upgrade compared to the A7 -> A7II.
    Like you said, we're all guessing but I would be surprised to see an A7III in 2016.
  12. izTheViz

    izTheViz TalkEmount Top Veteran

    May 10, 2013
    Yannis Marigo
    I have the A7 for almost 2 years now. I miss the IBIS and would like to get rid of the sensor flare (which has been fixed in the A7II) and the plastic lens mount (could be replaced somehow)
    Hence, go for a the A7II even if a bit less pocketable.
  13. jpfigueiredo

    jpfigueiredo TalkEmount Regular

    Jan 15, 2015
    Leiria, Portugal
    Great point, there. Especially since the OP seem to do a lot of long-exposures.
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