Sony a7R II - My New Camera

Sony a7R II

So, after the epic event of buying the Sony a7R II I now had to get to grips with the camera and to decide whether or not we could get on!!!

I spent the first few days just getting a feel for it and finessing the function buttons to set them to something that would feel most comfortable for me.  The Sony a7R II has a function button and various ‘c’ buttons all of which are customisable.  The ‘c’ buttons are placed at strategic points over the camera body; for me they were placed in my go to places and were customisable to my go to functions.  The Sony a7R II is a mirrorless camera so no mirror to flip up when pressing the shutter.  The big boon is you have the advantage of a WYSIWYG viewfinder and back display and this is called live view.  Live view can be turned on and off from the menu.  I got very excited as I thought yes I can use one of my ‘c’ buttons and use this to switch between the two.  Alas no, this is one option that is not attributable to a ‘c’ or the function button.  If any chaps from Sony are reading this, then this photographer would love a little firmware update J.  It may seem a silly thing but if, like me, you work on location and in the studio, there is a need for this.  I also work with both strobes and continuous lights in the studio so having a quick switch would be amazing….pretty please Sony J

My only other bugbear is the multifunction wheel on the back of the camera.  My main work cameras at the moment are Nikon and they have focus arrows in much the same place so my finger just zips around these arrows to get my focus point.  When photographing weddings, things like this have to be done quickly.  With the Sony a7R II the wheel exists and it is customisable to allow for focus points, but there are functions that are set in stone also on this wheel so in order to get the focus point one has to press an additional button.  In this case, I have set it up to be the centre button within the wheel.  Lisa of Lisa Beaney fame, who is an ambassador for Sony knew this was an issue for me and she showed me that her camera was set to the same; oh and yes folks she paid the for her own kit like all of us have to do.  The more I am using the camera the more I am automatically pressing then moving but there is an issue.  The wheel spins and pushes; if you push yep you guessed it the focus point moves and if it spins the wheel activates one of the set functions.  You may think you are pushing but the wheel is sensitive and in actual fact you are spinning and could unwittingly do something else.  I managed to bracket some shots at the Mascalls Spring Ball testing and as a consequence missed some shots.  Luckily it was at the end but for me not knowing what on earth was going on was a bit frustrating.  At one point the poor camera was trying to process this lot so went into shutdown and I thought, flippin heck, first night out and I have managed to break it so you can imagine the relief when my little baby came back to life!!!

As I say I am getting used to it but if the lovely chaps at Sony are reading this then I would love the option to be able to customise this wheel solely for the focus point.  I know others like the multi-function wheel so perhaps make this more customisable than it already is.  As much as it annoys me it is not so much of an issue that I don’t think the Sony a7R II and I can’t be friends as the more I use it the more I really love it; but Sony this would make it perfection for me.

The aim of the Mascalls Spring Ball was to shoot at a minimum of iso 6400, I did go to iso 8000 but there was no need it really was just for testing.  I have to say I am really impressed with the noise and I would quite happily shoot at iso 6400 without any qualms, something I would not be entirely happy doing with my Nikons.  Don’t forget folks the Sony a7R II has a mahoosive 42M megapixels so shooting at this iso is just a boon for me.  Mega pixels and low noise, usually one is sacrificed for the other so I am over the moon that I can have both.

Here are just a couple of shots from the ball with my very beautiful Goddaughter Esme who has a stunning voice and hopefully this will give you an idea of how lovely this camera is in low light, albeit with a bit of unintentional bracketing on the night.  The images have had the merest whisper of editing in Lightroom as I wanted you to see them without too much done to them.  I have cropped each one so you can see how good this camera is at iso 6400.

These images were shot on the Sony a7R II using the Zeiss Batis 85mm 1.8, which I have to say is beautiful lens, it really is.

I have been on location but wow have I loved using my little baby in the studio with continuous light.

Watch out for part three…

Claire 🙂



Sony a7R II Full Frame Mirrorless Camera System

Sony a7R II

I do love a bit of a geeky show so I was very much looking forward to the recent Photography Show in Birmingham to look at the Sony a7R II.

I have been looking to replace one of my DSLR cameras and I wasn’t sure if I should go for another DSLR or go for a mirrorless system. I own the Olympus OMD E5 cameras but these are pleasure cameras and I would not feel comfortable shooting weddings with them for a few of reasons. They are wonderfully compact but this can be an issue when navigating some of the buttons quickly (most things have to be quick when photographing weddings), the small size of the camera can make things unbalanced when you put a decent sized flash on top and the low light capability wasn’t quite spot on for me, although I do think we are picky as photographers now but it was still an issue for me. Also the system was micro 4/3rds not full frame; yes me being picky but I do love full frame.

Sony launched a full frame mirrorless system of cameras that caught the eye of my good pal and fellow photographer Lisa Beaney who invested in the system. Posts kept popping up about the amazing quality of this camera in low light and it was a full frame mirrorless system so it caught my eye and got me to thinking should I be considering this? I have been endlessly questioning poor Lisa for months, she is a very patient person and then Sony brought out the a7R II with a whopping 42M megapixels. Now this put me in a quandary as the aS system was 12M megapixels. How would this little baby cope in low light I asked myself then Lisa, yes poor Lisa!!!

The Photography Show was the place to be and ask a few questions, but I was still undecided and the multi-function wheel at the back of the Sony a7R II camera and was a an issue for me. I like to meet Lisa and Phill and the show as we can have a good old look at all the new shiny things they have on offer and I was at it again with the questions. The low light was still a sticking point for me and if I was going to invest the money in this system I had to be sure I was making the right decision. Lisa is an ambassador for Sony and she was doing a couple of talks on the stand to show what the camera can do, she was using her own equipment that she purchased with her own money so her talks are genuine!!! Anyway, I digress, she had her camera with her and thrust it into my hand and said, Claire go and play with it on a high ISO and see what you think, get the feel of it and use the focus wheel to see if it would be a problem. Oh dear that really did put me in a dilemma as it was 42M megapixels and it was fabulous shooting at 6400 iso. Then we wandered to Cameraworld who had a fabulous show deal on…well I am sure you can see where this is going. After lots of ringing of hands, a phone call to my Hubby in the vain hope he would put up a fight I took the plunge and purchased the Sony a7R II with the Sony Zeiss 24-70 and the Zeiss Batis 85mm.

Handing over the credit card brought me out in a cold sweat with a reluctance to hand it over but I kept telling myself, it’s worth it, it’s worth it!!! There was lots of deep breathing and justification for the remainder of the show much to the amusement of Lisa and Phill with much the same on my drive home.

The first chance to use this little baby came last Thursday, well I am pleased and I will write about that in my next blog post with some pics. I think my Sony a7R II and me are going to be great friends 🙂

Check out part 2 coming soon!!