Sony A7rii - A kind of review
To be honest, writing this feels very late to several parties. Sony have released the A7riii in the last month and it looks fairly amazing. And expensive. I read lots of reviews of the A7rii before taking the plunge but it wasn't recommended for Wedding photographers. Those that know me well know that if I'm told something cant do a job, I want to make it work. So one wedding, several family shoots and a holiday into the camera just how does it stand up? Wedding Use
This camera is small and light compared to the 5Dii which has been my main camera for our weddings over the last two years. However, not having any Sony lenses means I am using the Sigma MC-11 adapter so that I can use all my Canon and Sigma lenses. With the Sigma Art 35mm it feels like a native lens as everything works. The eye focus is awesome and autofocus feels fast; certainly fast enough to not get frustrated. The problem here is that Gabby loves the 35mm and is her main lens for her 6D. So I had my Canon 85mm F1.8 on the Sigma adapter for the wedding. My go to lens for my 5Dii is the Canon 50mm F1.2 which I adore. It's the best lens I own and there was no way I was going to put that on the Sony for an actual wedding (at this stage). Our other main lens is the Sigma 105mm F2.8 Macro which isn't used much but has its place for Macro shots and if extra zoom is needed. Anyway, the 85mm was the lens of choice allowing me to capture the wedding as usual with my Canon camera and get 'bonus' shots with the Sony.
These two shots were some of my favourites and show off one perfect feature for weddings - silent shooting. Completely silent, no noise, at all. I was able to be close enough to capture the shot with the couple, the guests or the registrars having that annoying mirror slap ringing out in their ears. I would normally shoot in live view on my 5Dii which works fine but is a bit slow. This brings me on to my absolute favourite thing about this camera (probably my favourite anyways) which is the EVF. I'm used to an OVF (Optical View Finder) on my Canon cameras which I have no issue with. However, the Electronic View Finder on this camera is amazing. As many others have said, you literally see the picture before you take it. Why is this so good? Moving from outside to inside is a nightmare with exposure. Not with this camera because if you are under exposed you know, if over exposed you know. A twist of the shutter speed or aperture and boom, exposure fixed. No chimping, here. Which is nice as I realise I'm a right chimper. We always try and stay aware of our exposures (obviously) but moving from church to outside, from shade to light means it is easy to try and capture a moment but lose it due to exposure. Not with this camera. WYSIWYG. I really don't like that acronym but in this case, it's so true. Gabby has been able to use the camera whilst we have done some family shoots and on holiday and once she realised that what is in the EVF is what goes on the memory card then she was blown away.
Family and Street photography
Whilst on holiday we were eating in a restaurant and I spotted this potential shot. The problem was that I only had my light, 35mm F2.8 lens with me. I ran down to the sea, climbed some rocks and took a few versions of this picture.
Now in my head this was supposed to be a tight, silhouette type shot, black and white just showing the fishermen framed by the wall, the sky and the sea.I do like this shot but it wasn't what I wanted. My only choice was to crop whilst editing. Now this camera is 42MP so cropping in close can still create amazing detail, pretty much as good as a full shot with my 5Dii. The results were this....
I couldn't believe how sharp it still was. I love this shot and it is one of my favourite street photographs I've ever taken.
Another strength of this camera is being able to recover shadows in post. The following shot, taken by Gabby, was in a fairly dark aquarium whilst Clove and I were looking for sharks! Gabby was able to push the ISO without too much noise and then boost the shadows and recover detail. As a rule we are natural light photographers and so having a camera that can recover detail like this and shoot in ISO 6400 without the noise becoming a destroying factor of a picture is, again, fantastic.
In summary, can I use this camera for wedding photography? Yes. Can i use it for family and street photography? Yes. Is the mirrorless system the future of photography? For sure. Can it be my only camera for a wedding? Hmmm, I don't know. I certainly don't feel like I would throw all of my trust in it as the bride walks down the aisle like I can with my 5Dii. When we edit photos we tend to edit our own shots and split them up using the metadata info on Lightroom. It tells you how many pictures were taken with each camera. I was expecting far fewer shots to make the cull from the Sony than I actually got. I was pleasantly surprised how much I'd used it and how few shots got thrown away - the hit rate is high!!
What do I want now? More native lenses. I haven't mentioned the focus modes, the customisable buttons, the size, the weight, the all round coolness (if that is a word) of this camera much. All but one of my lenses (the 35mm Samyang) need an adapter and so don't function like a native lens would.