This isn’t a typical camera review of the A7R2 though, it’s more like a journey on how I got here. You see, I’ve been watching the Sony mirrorless system for a while now but I couldn’t bring myself to take the jump, I use the Canon 5D Mk III and L Series lenses for my pro line of work and use the Fuji X-Pro 1 for my street and travel photography.
Honestly speaking, I was quite happy with this set up until a couple of months ago when Sony introduced the A7RII with its 42 megapixel BSI sensor, a claimed 14 stops of dynamic range and super high ISO sensitivity and 5 Axis IS, they even packed in 4K recording natively!
Whenever people asked me if I was to start again, which system would I jump in to, I’d always tell them the Sony FE System but because of my current Gear Acquisition Syndrome, I was tethered to Canon and Fuji but what if there was this mythical camera that allowed me to merge these two styles of photography?
So here I am, thinking about dropping some hard earned cash on another camera system. I’ve definitely been a sucker for hype and the latest generation of cameras have lured hours of my attention from actual work. Maybe I was going to procrastinate either way, but at the end of this tunnel, I will probably be losing a hefty amount of cash to replace it with several hundred grams of magnesium alloy housing some serious CMOS circuitry.
Photographer or Photo Enthusiast?
As large camera manufacturers start churning out the hype machines, many photo-enthusiasts will start salivating for these new imaging monsters; bigger resolution, better dynamic range, higher sensitivity, faster processing, more connectivity, etc. It’s enough to make you go out and justify maxing out your credit card in order to ignite a spark that hasn’t been lit since the last time you purchased a camera.
But before you do that, you need to ask yourself this question: What do I need this for? It’s pretty simple but for many, this could be like walking through a land mine.
As mirrorless cameras start eating away at DSLR sales worldwide, the old guard of photography; primarily Nikon, Canon and Pentax have been trying to stop the hemorrhaging of their entry level and enthusiast range of cameras.
To this day, nothing excites me more than placing my eye against my Canon 5D Mk III eye piece and seeing a tried and tested system in that reflex but for many, it’s totally unnecessary to carry a bigger, heavier camera all for the sake of that mirror box . You see, many families now want great image quality without carrying the big DSLR, these mirrorless cameras can provide just that but on the other end of the spectrum, enthusiasts might require a sturdier built machine that can withstand nature’s elements.
It isn’t an easy decision. Investing in a system is expensive and learning to use it takes time. My colleague Christian gave us 10 Reasons to Switch from a DSLR to a Mirrorless System. I present you with 3 key counterpoints as to why the mainstream should wait. This article will focus on full frame systems rather than APS-C. It is geared towards prosumers seriously invested in their gear and professionals who make their living with their cameras.
Choosing photographic equipment can be both complicated for professionals and extremely difficult for beginners and amateurs. Beginners are often overwhelmed with choices. Pros make a living with their gear and talent know what they need in terms of specs, lenses and accessories. But in the face of endless choice, even they can get lost.
Just like Jason Lanier who switched from Nikon to the Sony A7S, Serge Ramelli (by the way Serge has amazing tutorials on YouTube!) and Michael Shainblum who switched respectively from Canon to Sony A7R and A7S, many other professionals are either changing or starting to study the possibilities of switching to a mirrorless system. And for sure, for some professionals the A7rII will be a no brainer as it offers some features never proposed on a DSLR body until now like a silent shutter, BSI sensor 5 axis in-body stabilization and the possibility to use as well E-mount, A-mount and Canon lenses (and a Nikon adapter should follow).
Their decisions are interesting to study. It is important understand why this system is a game changer, not only for consumers like us, but also for professionals. Switching from a traditional DSLR to a mirrorless system like Sony’s for a pro represents a big change, not as much as switching from film cameras to digital cameras, but this new technology is reliable and represents its little revolution of its own in the photography field.
It also annoyed the existing A7 owners because the A7ii is coming out just one short year after the debut of the A7 (here are our first impressions). While 1 year (or less) production cycles are typical for consumer products, professional models like the Canon 5D and the Nikon DX00 series typically have a 2+ year production cycles. It’s going to be hard to keep up, buying a new camera every winter.
The biggest hoopla about the Sony A7ii is really its 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS). This is a first for full-frame cameras, chiefly because Canon, Nikon, and Leica, the only other full frame camera manufacturers, subscribe only to the optical image stabilization (OIS) philosophy. Other manufacturers sticking with IBIS include Olympus, Panasonic, and Ricoh/Pentax.