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Redemption or total failure for A7 ii

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by Mystic, May 20, 2018.

  1. Mystic

    Mystic TalkEmount Regular

    53
    Dec 7, 2012
    Ok i've been using the first version of a7 without ibis and first generation of af, and I somehow managed to make amazing shots for portraits, in weddings and in studio. Here are some examples of my work on my Fb page.
    Mystic Photography - Kęstutis Šliauderis

    I'll be honest it wasn't always easy to obtain focus and there were a lot of times when I missed it on otherwise beautiful shots. Also because of the lack of Ibis i have a fair amount of shots not sharp enough. So, I decided, that i need a camera that would make my work at least little easier. I do not have 2000 euros, for a7iii, i only have 1000, so i decided to buy a7ii.

    Of course I heard that it's not good enough in many areas, but my thinking is, that A7 was neither, but I, using my experience, ingenuity and expertise, managed to make my most beautiful shots with it. and A7ii is better in AF department, ergonomics much improved, and it has an IBIS, so theoretically the percentage of bad shots should be decreased significantly, although i never complained about the percentage of bad shots with my a7 first generation. and my clients were happy too.

    So I already bought the A7ii, and now i'm waiting for it to come. And while waiting i started reading forums about people complaining how bad AF is.. how bad dinamic range is.. how bad the noise is.. hmm.. i wonder, is it worse that A7? because if it's not worse then it's totally fine, i'm loving image quality of my a7. i rarely go beyond 800 iso, and it will not change.

    Most are complaining about af speed and af-c being unusable. well i decided, that i will test it, and report back if it's actually usable. i'm not a beginner so I know a lot of tricks on how to use camera, so i believe that if you know what you are doing, you can get good results with most cameras. Of course if you do not know what you are doing and leaving everything for a camera, you might end up frustrated. however i managed to use af-c on my original a7, and got about 50% of good focused photos.

    So the point of this article is: i will receive the camera and will do a field test, since i have some photoshoots coming. and after few of them i'll report is it usable, is it better/worse did it met my expectations and hopefully redeem a camera, or is it really a piece of s***. and i will need to throw it away.. we'll see.

    So if there is anyone still thinking to buy a used or a new A7ii, stay tuned, I will tell you if it's possible to succesfully use the camera for shooting photoshoots, weddings and etc.
     
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  2. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    FWIW, I moved from an A7 to an A7II, and never once regretted doing so. I don’t do photo shoots nor weddings, but the increased capabilities of the A7II over the A7 were beyond dispute to me. I have no doubt that you will have a similar experience.
     
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  3. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    914
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    The 7ii seems like a very compelling "bang for the buck" option at this time. If I had to start over again and couldn't justify the iii, I would definitely spend the extra $300 for the ii (over the original) for IBIS and the sensor reflection fix.
     
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  4. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    As a part time wedding photographer/2nd shooter, that also has an A7 and an A7ii, I’d say that the II isn’t an much as an improvement, specifically in the AF speed and accuracy department.
    You’d think that using flexible spot small and aiming for the eye would nail focus but sometimes it just doesn’t and going in 100% the eyes are not sharp. I still get a lot unfocused shots. I don’t have the funds either, but really should somehow find the budget for an A7iii...
     
  5. Mystic

    Mystic TalkEmount Regular

    53
    Dec 7, 2012
    Well, maybe you need to change focusing mode, maybe forget eye autofocus with a7ii, and leave just for face detect? maybe don't use small flexible spot in af-s moed, maybe try big flexible spot and af-c, with face detection override. maybe i'm wrong, maybe it would not make a difference. I will test how it performs in relation to the original a7. the a7iii is fool proof, and is super good for beginners, since it finds the eye and follows it everywhere.. you basically don't have to do much since af points are spread all over the screen, while a7ii, phase detection points are only in the middle part, one has to have it in mind while shooting.. So maybe we shouldn't compare a7ii to a7iii, my concern is, is it better in relation to a7. if it is, then i know, i'll be able to get familiar with how it works and use it to my best advantage.
     
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  6. Tipton

    Tipton TalkEmount Top Veteran

    508
    Jan 30, 2016
    Rae Leggett
    I too, went from the A7 to the A7ii. I never had a problem with the A7ii, although since I am a landscape photographer mainly, I was looking for different things, and when I had the chance to buy an almost unused store display A7Rii, I sold the A7ii and bought it.

    The A7ii is a good camera. You have to keep in mind that photographers are whining ninnies. :coffee-26:
     
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  7. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    Oh, I’m not using eye af on the a7ii. I would never do that with that camera. Its quite unreliable in my opinion on the ii and would never take such ricks at weddings :) 

    I don’t use af-c either because i too don’t trust it in such situations where nailing focus is critical. I use af-s with center focus point (focus and recompose) or flexible spot (and use small or medium because i find large being unreliable too). I guess I’m asking for too much, lol :D 

    I’d say comparing it with the original A7 its marginally better but not groundbreaking :) 

    This is offcourse just my opinion and based on my preferences/what I shoot...

    Damn, I really need an A7iii...

    :p 
     
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  8. Mystic

    Mystic TalkEmount Regular

    53
    Dec 7, 2012
    i sure hope that i will notice a difference :)  but will report on how different it feels.
     
  9. Mystic

    Mystic TalkEmount Regular

    53
    Dec 7, 2012
    yeah sometimes they are.. but maybe whining not real photographers, but those who spend their time waiting for a better camera, pixelpeeping, and compare specs.. while real photographers are on the field photographing with what they have..
     
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  10. Mystic

    Mystic TalkEmount Regular

    53
    Dec 7, 2012
    Well, i'll try it too.. maybe your'e right.. but i'll report my findings :)  maybe i'll find some trick to improve focusing :)  hopefully :) 
     
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  11. Tipton

    Tipton TalkEmount Top Veteran

    508
    Jan 30, 2016
    Rae Leggett
    I've been wondering about this myself lately. Are my photos any better for having bought an A7Rii, as opposed to an A7ii or God forbid, my old original A7? (Which I loved, and is also not a bad camera at all.)

    It's hard to tell; I like to think I've gotten better at things like composition and postprocessing. Those are skills, independent of camera. At the same time, there's no doubt that the R2's 42 megapixels and larger dynamic range spoils me a little. I can recompose by cropping in post, and I can raise the shadows like madness.

    I tell people that ask me about what camera to buy that any camera that came out in the last five years is incredible. And they don't ask me again. :yahoo:
     
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  12. Mystic

    Mystic TalkEmount Regular

    53
    Dec 7, 2012
    I received the camera. First impressions.
    the shape of the body is to the better, but, for my hands grip even though it's bigger, it's not convenient at all, it's too shallow, even though my hands are small. Maybe i'll get use to it. the button placement is good, except for the video recording and menu. what concerns me are the dials - all of them. they are fiddly and not tactile enough, the screen is more difficult to grab on to rotate, you cannot take it wherever you want and pull there are only three designated places to do that. those flaps, well they are what they are. bigger body, well it is what it is. bigger bottom plate, is for the better, and tighter mount is a welcome change too.
    Positives:
    So far, the AF is much snappier in all modes then the original. i updated to 4.0 firmware, i use native glass;
    ibis, is a great feature to have;
    AF and IBIS in video mode;
    This form feels more balanced than the original, with GM glass,
    Extra buttons and customization is very good, although, for my taste some other functions could bee added to custom buttons, for example compressed and non compressed raw, but i guess ill be able to switch this back and forth via memory modes;

    Overall for photography i think this camera is well ahead of the original in usability department, better AF and IBIS make a lot of difference.

    Negatives:
    The main negative thing so far is the video quality. i'm shocked how prominent moire is. The video is almost unusable. is it only for me?
    i've tried both xavc s and avchd codecs and found moire patterns appearing in both of them, i tried p60, p50, i60, i50, p30, p25 and moire is everywhere. maybe i do not know something? but the video on the original a7 did not have so visible moire patterns. So far i'm mad how in 2015 Sony could make such a flaw with a camera? it's not even for 4k? so it cannot shoot a normal, simple 1080p? is there any fix for that? i tried using picture profiles pp5 and pp6 i found reduces them a tad, but it still is way way too visible. Maybe further tweaking of the profiles would yeld a better result. but so far i'm losing hope.

    i wonder, maybe the video mode got worse because of the firmware updates? was it ok on fw1.0?

    Guys, who use it, can you comment on that? how do you deal with it? how do you reduce it? what are your settings to shoot video? thanks for your input.

     
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
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  13. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Sorry Mystic. I never shoot video. So no help from me.
     
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  14. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    Hmmm, have you tried different lenses? The thick sensor stack on the A7 was reduced in the 2nd gen A7's after complaints of distortion with certain legacy wide angle lenses.
    Moire may be more prominent due to this. I don't really shoot videos either with my new A7II.

    I agree with you on the two dials. They should have been knurled aluminum for better feel and grip.

    The one thing I can recommend to improve the ergonomics is adding a fitted L-bracket. The added space around the grip provides a place for the pinky. Makes for a much more comfortable experience. If you use Arca-Swiss equipment, all the better. The bracket also adds some bump protection too. I got mine off ebay for $10!
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
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  15. Mystic

    Mystic TalkEmount Regular

    53
    Dec 7, 2012
    Thanks WNG for your ideas, interesting information about stacked sensor. however how true is that.. i guess we'll never know for sure. i'll decide in the coming month to keep the camera or sell it and somehow buy the iii version.. if i'll keep it, i'll consider the L-bracket, because sadly the grip is not comfortable. I believe they addressed this issue in the iii generation. And not only two dials, the exposure compensation dial is also somewhat smaller and more difficult to adjust.. oh well.. it would be sad, that i couldn't keep it because of the video, because i occasionally get job assignments to film something..
    Well anyways this week i'll have few photoshoots, so i'll report on my experience while using it for photography.
     
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