To set the scene I’m the kind of person who turns their nose up atacamera ifit isn’t a professional DSLR. I’ve never owned a mirrorless camera (unless my iPhone counts!) and I’ve only ever used them for 2 minutes at a time. Always finding them a little slow to respond.
Recently though, I’ve noticed a growing trend amongst my friends who use mirrorless cameras in their day to day work at weddings. This got me intrigued.
Whilst I’ve been a little curious about Fuji/Olympus/Sony I’ve never really believed they were much more than a toy. No question the image quality is good, but I’ve always been a little cynical that they could stand up to the pace of a wedding. Almost any camera these days has good image quality, butI requireaccurate focusing, and a reasonable number of frames per second (for cfetti!)
After 6 years of being a wedding photographer I’m well tuned to my Canon cameras. They are all I have ever used professionally. I shoot between 50-70 weddings a year as well as 30 engagement shoots. I know exactly what to expect from my 5D MKIII’s. Their limitations and how they work in virtually all situations. What lenses are best used when, and what effects I can expect in different lighting conditions.
For all the things that get on my nerves with Canon (lack of updates, average dynamic range, poor low light autofocus and ISO performance (in comparison to Nikon)) they do have some wonderful attributes. I’m in the business of capturing moments. With a few exceptions in certain circumstances the focusing responds like lightning and it gets me the image (virtually) all the time.
In hindsight I’m a little surprised at myself for splurging on a Sony A7R2. It’s a fricking expensive camera for what it is. In my mind it’s probably better suited to landscapephotography rather than wedding photography. That said the reviews I’ve read rank it pretty highly, certainly in line with the latest DSLRs.
On paper DXO give the sensor a thumbs up. Certainly compared to the new Canon 5DSr which is the only other serious contender if I wanted to buy a new camera. Whilst the 5DSr is a nice camera and all, I may as well wait for the 5D4.
So for the fun of trying something new I thought I’d click the ‘buy it now’ button and see how well the Sony A7RII copes with weddings.
Since turning ‘pro’ 5 or 6 years ago, the idea of buying new equipment doesn’t excite me much. Cameras are just a tool and it’s been nice not to obsess over the latest gear – and just get out there and shoot. I haven’t bought a new lens for 4 years, and have owned the 5D3 for about 3 years.
Before that I owned the 5D MKII, a 30D, a Nikon D70, and before that a Fuji Finepix and before that a Sony 3.1 megapixel CyberShot. So it’s kind of weird to come back to Sony after 12 years…
So what follows is a review of the A7R II from a wedding photographer. I treat my gear pretty hard. I don’t like it when it comes up short. I’m not a scientist. I don’t do a massive amount of pixel peekingbut image quality, especially in low light is important to me.
Reasons I bought the camera
- To get inspired. Whilst cameras are just a tool I like new technology and the A7R2 has lots of it. Whilst I considered the 5DSr I don’t really need a 50MP sensor. And there’s not a great deal about it that interests me. I have thought about Nikon cameras, but it means buying in to a whole new system which is a bit of a pain. Which leads me to point number 2.
- I can use Canon lenses. I bought a metabones adapter, so in theory I shouldn’t need to buy in to a whole new system.
- Silent shutter – one of the reasons I didn’t want to try a Nikon was the noisier shutter. Being invisible at a wedding is a big part of how I work.
- Better dynamic range.
- Image stabilisation – in body! Game changer.
- Improved ISO (I would have preferred the A7S for this, but not with 12MP) I understand this isn’t as good as Nikon – but better than Canon.
- WIFI and using it remotely (in the church.)
- EVF – no more underexposure (in theory anyway!)
- A tilting LCD
- Crazy 40MP sensor – I would probably prefer something int he 20-30MP range, but hey.
- 4K video.
Whilst I do carry a heavy bag around with me at weddings I don’t really consider the weight of DSLR’s a problem. Sometimes they are an inconvenience but I only ever carry the bag when I’m actually moving equipment from one place to the next. Rarely whilst actively shooting. I won’t lie though – having a lighter setup isa plus… but it’s not at the top of my list.
All images taken with theZeiss 55mm f/1.8.
This is cropped at around 80%
It’s sexy. Probably not as sexy as the Fuji line but I like it. Feels well built. Fairly discrete. Nice buttons and a large LCD. I can pop it in my camera bag and it doesn’t leave much of a footprint in terms of weight or space. A solid backup to my two canon cameras.
To preface my review of the Sony A7RII I’m going to say that I have never used a modern Sony camera before. Whilst I unboxed it and set it up at home I hadn’t spent any time learning exactly how it works. I haven’t even opened the manual.In hindsight I would recommend learning how to get the best out of the camera.There are somany options and new features compared to a DSLR thatit’ a worthwhile thing to do before rocking up to a wedding. Especially focus options which to my knowledge, aren’t options on most DSLRs.
Using it at a wedding
Now I have been using this camera fairly regularly for 6 months.I’ve been really excited to put it through it’s paces. The first and best thing about the A7RII for me was the silent mode.
Now, this is a bit of a double edged sword. The silent mode is INSANE. Hands down the best thing about the camera. The problem comes from using it in some indoor lighting situations. I don’t have much of a technical knowledge, but basically, a problem with all mirrorless cameras is that you can get banding under fluorescent lighting conditions. This is because they have an electronic rolling shutter.
Situations when it’s extremely good to use silent mode? It isGREAT during bridal prep. I canovershoot and people really didn’t pay much attention to me. I’m not sure they even realise I’m even taking a photo! When I usea DSLR I am always conscious of the noise the camera generates.I really try to not taketoo many photosas itcan often be quite an emotional part of the day. Tensions run high and I’m conscious that making clicking noises every 5 seconds isn’t a great experience for people.
The real revelation was having a silent shutter during the church ceremony. Again, this is another point in the day where I want to disappear in to the background. I want to be the last thing on everyone’s mind. I also want the priest to be on my side and allow me access to the best viewpoints. So with the example below I was able to take photos during the prayers where the bride and groom were throwing oneanother cute little glances. And the same through the signing of the register. I had been asked to wait until the ‘official posedphotos’, but I hung back and took a few frames when no one was looking. Again, not something I really feel 100% confident doing with a DSLR. Although the 5DMKIII is pretty quiet, you can hear it if you’re not too far away and because it’s so big it’s a bit of a giveaway.
Downsides of using it as a wedding photographer
I have gotten used to this with time, but with my A7R2 is a bit slow to review images.I guess, because the EVF gives you a live preview of the image you’re going to take it’s not really necessary to check exposure. But compared to my 5DMK3 the Sony takes its time to writeimages. You have to wait for them all to be written before you can review what’s on the card. Not ideal after a burst of activity. Secondly it’s not possible to really see whether an image is sharp. Even when zooming in to 100% you can’t be completely confident whether you nailed focus. And finally, the real kicker, you have to wait 4 seconds for the camera to zoom in to each image. A really really frustrating experience.
Sony A7R2 auto focus
On the flip side I’d say that the focus was quick and prettyreliable. Whilst I need to use it more to get a better understanding I have a good amount of keepers and plenty of moments. It nails confetti and people walking down the aisle towards me (in good light.)
Here is one example. I took a few hurried shots right before the bride entered the church. In my haste I messed up the exposure. Badly. The silent shutter allowed me to be there, shooting over the officiant’s shoulder without them even realising. The exposure is terrible, but in my defence I literally had a few seconds before having to head to the top of the aisle and catch everyone coming in.
+ 3 stops in lightroom and 50% shadows. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have got such a clean image from my 5DMKIII – and certainly not with so much detail.
Sony A7R2 low light autofocus
For me the jury is out on this – it focuses well in low light – but I’m not 100% confidentto use it at key moments in a dark church. This is something I need to try at my next wedding!Changing focus modes helps a lot – I found that it could hunt and be pretty in accurate in some situations, but if I changed the focus mode it tracks the subject and does extremely well. That said I haven’t yet had the calls to photograph the bride walking down the aisle in the church with it, or any key moments that happen in poor light.
Sony A7R2 ISO performance
It’s good, but not as good as Nikon. I’m pretty surprised how good it is considering the amount of megapixels it has. I certainly have no qualms at turning it up to 6400in the most darkest of situations.
Sony A7R2 Dynamic range and underexposure test
One of the main reasons I bought the Sony A7RII was for better dynamic range. I was hopeful after seeing this post that the A7R IIcould easily pull out 5-6 stops. Something along the same lines as the D750. I’ve done a few tests now and whilst dynamic range is improved, it definitely isn’t up to the job of pulling back 5-6 stops worth of detail. You’ll see below I took a photo with -5EV and then pulled it back in lightroom. I’m not even going to bother posting a 100% view of the image because it’s unusable.
I have noticed dynamic range is improved compared to the 5D3. But seeing as it’s a 3 year old camera it isn’t much to be excited about. This was a little disappointing if I’m honest. Whilst I’m not in the habit of messing up my exposures it’s a nice party trick to have.
For instance, I recently tooka silhouette shot at a wedding of the couple at sunset. My second photographer took virtually the same photo with a D750 (as I had told him whatI was doing.) I was able to completely recover 4 stops of underexposure and the image quality hardly suffered at all.
The Metabones MKIV
This was prettydisappointing. I bought the most expensive adapter I could – theMetabones MK4. It works pretty well with my Canon85L and 50L. Focusing is pretty snappy – there is perhaps a slight delay but it works generally well. It doesn’t work well with my 35L (one of my favourite lenses.) The problem is that autofocus stops functioning. I attach the lens with the Metabones adapter and it works for a few minutes before failing. I have to take the lens off the body and reattach it for it to work again. I have cleaned and checked the contacts so I’m not sure why it doesn’t work. My 135mm f/2 can’t be focus at all. There is a good list of canon lenses and how they work here.After experimenting Isimply gave up and use my Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 and my cheap Sony 28mm f/2 – I am extremely happy with them both.
The weight saving wasn’t high on my list of priorities but it is one of my favourite features of the A7rII. I use it for all my family photography and personal photography. Sure, if you attach a big lens like the Sony 85/1.4 then it becomes more of a handful. But having such a small, light, full frame camera with me is something I have grown to love more and more. And there are certain times at a wedding where it is so nice to walk around with a lightweight camera thatisn’t intimidating. Wedding guests definitelydon’t pay me so much attention and as I get a little older each year carrying lighter equipment is a bit of a benefit.
Sony know the battery life sucks – that’s why they are good enough to give you two batteries as standard! Honestly, I thinkat my last wedding the first battery was almost dead by the end of bridal prep.
Now, I’m a little torn about processing files from the A7RII. They are huge with so much detail. More megapixels is better. However, having to processCanon and Sony files is a little problematic in terms of consistency. Creating and using camera specific presets in Lightroom has really helped.However, the dynamic range of the A7RII means that to me,the Sony files are pretty easy to spot.However I doubt my couples could notice the difference.
The conclusion to theSony A7RII review from a Wedding Photographer
It’s a reallypricey camera and it certainly has it’s limitations. But it performs every bit as well as I was hoping. I’ll be keeping it and perhaps looking to buy or swap to a second Sony body. They come out so frequently that there are plenty of options! I did consider the A7SII however my snobbery over the 12MP sensor put me off. I’d love better low light capability but I do like the possibility of printing large.
Things the A7R2 is:
A great camera. All the reasons I bought the camera make me a happy guy. Silent shutter. Image stabilisation. Being able to use Canon lenses. Great video – amazing focusing.
Having a ‘real’ silent shutter is a god send. I personally value this more than any other attribute the camera has to offer. Whilst the silent shutter on the 5D3 is good there is no getting away from the fact that it makes a click and the size of the camera makes you far more conspicuous. If you’re close to someone then it’s an obvious giveaway. When you’re close to a registrar, vicar or bride it is audible and probably a bit annoying/distracting. I don’t want people to think about me and the photos I’m taking, I want them to be in the moment.
If you wanted todrop yourDSLR and use Sony as a full time replacement you could. You would need a lot of batteries though :)Everyone has their own way of shooting, and it wouldn’t suit everyone. But if I had to shoot a wedding on this I could – and I’d be confident of itstanding up to the task.
Things the A7R2 isn’t:
Tough. Within the first month the screen got a small scratch. I bought a protector after that to help protect it. The body is small and some of the buttons are a little plastic or small. The dials are really nice to use though. As I mentioned, it eats batteries. But all in all itcompliments my current setup very well. I don’t think the dynamic range or the ISO are particularly ground breaking. It doesbeat the 5D3 and is equal or closeto what Nikon offers. Quite honestly though, I rarely go above ISO 3200 so it’s not a problem.
I hope thisSony A7RII review from a Wedding Photographer was useful! Do leave comments or questions in the comments.
It does beat the 5D3 and is equal or close to what Nikon offers. Quite honestly though, I rarely go above ISO 3200 so it's not a problem. I hope this Sony A7RII review from a Wedding Photographer was useful!Is Sony A7RII good for photography? ›
|ISO 102400 (100% Crop)||ISO 102400 (100% Crop)|
The sensor resolution of 24.3 MP assures large prints of your portrait shots. Good handling with a camera is really important during portrait shooting, just as good placement of the physical controls on the camera body making A7II even more suitable for portrait photography.Is the Sony A7RII worth it in 2021? ›
the A7Rii is a great camera to have, even in 2021. For image quality, its still one of the best. The AF is pretty good with Native lenses, and with Sony A-mount SSM lenses.Is the Sony A7iii good for wedding? ›
I believe the Sony A7iii is a best camera for wedding photography now in 2019. I'm gonna lie, it's not the most exciting camera I've had, it's not really fun to use, nor does it inspire to shoot more or bring it with you everywhere you go (it's also pretty big when combined with fast F1.Is Sony a7r III good for wedding photography? ›
As a result of this amazing experience, I'm able to share a first look photo shoot with the Sony a7RIII for weddings and portraits. Most of all, I can say with 100% confidence that after shooting with this camera in all types of scenarios, the Sony a7RIII is the BEST camera for pro photographers.What is the Sony A7R II good for? ›
The Sony A7R II is the world's best camera for hobbyists, but DSLRs make better pictures faster for serious work. The Sony A7R II is a high-resolution full-frame mirrorless camera that exceeds the performance of the LEICA M240 in every way, for half the price. This Sony has an outstanding silent mode that actually is.Is the Sony A7R II good in low light? ›
Sure the A7SII is the best in low light and for video in this size of camera, but the A7RII is no slouch. I have been able to shoot in near darkness with video and photo and be pleased with the results.Is the A7R II weather sealed? ›
Luckily the camera is weather resistant.
While both cameras offer the same 3:2 aspect ratio and basic megapixel resolution of 24.3 and 24.2 MP respectively (the difference is irrelevant), the newer Sony a7 version offers the newer Exmor R CMOS sensor design, which includes a BSI backlight illumination system for notably better low light image quality.
The Sony Alpha 7R Mark II, which was known as the a7R II at the time before Sony quietly altered its naming conventions in the last year, was originally launched on June 10, 2015. It was the world's first backside-illuminated 35mm full-frame sensor and was also capable of shooting 4K video.Is Sony a7ii a good camera +2020? ›
Its perfect resolution, great high ISO performance and great handling makes this A7 II Sony's best buy in full-frame cameras. It's 95% of the A7S II and A7R II for 50% of the price — and it weighs less and has the most optimum resolution; 24MP is perfect for full-frame.Is Sony a7 II still worth buying? ›
Verdict. The Sony a7II is still a good camera in 2021, especially if you can find one at a reasonable price.Does the Sony A7rII shoot 4k? ›
The Sony A7rII now has the ability to shoot internal 4k video.Is the Sony a7 still worth it in 2022? ›
Sony a7iii - Still Worth it in 2022?? - YouTubeWhat is the best Sony camera for wedding photography? ›
Sony a1. It's hard to argue with the Sony a1 being the ideal camera for wedding photography. It's one of the highest-resolution models in Sony's lineup, one of the fastest cameras around, and has some of the best video specs in the Alpha series.Is Sony A6400 good for wedding photography? ›
Weddings used to be adequately imaged with ONE lens, a 75–80 mm, 2.8–3.5 lens on a 2–1/4 TLR. That corresponds to a 28 mm lens on a A6400. So the 16–70/4 zoom should readily suffice, as might the 18–135. A good understanding of lighting, posing and timing is more important than lens choice.Is Sony A7 III good for photography? ›
The Sony A7 III is a smart choice for many. It's a great all-rounder camera and has an affordable price. Its high-resolution sensor, fast and reliable autofocus and good dynamic range made it wildly popular among portrait, landscape photographers. And among wedding photo- and videographers too.Why is a7iii good for video? ›
The Sony A7 III has long been one of our favorite all-round entry-level full frame mirrorless cameras. Its 24MP resolution is enough for most, its AF system is fast and powerful, its 10fps shooting is very impressive at this price and it even shoots 4K video (though there is a small crop if you want to shoot at 30p).Does Sony A7RII have image stabilization? ›
Now, Sony has the A7RII, which lets you shoot ultra-high-definition 4K video in camera, without a recorder, the 5-axis image stabilization and that mega-42-megapixel image sensor. That's a whole lot of resolution in a small camera.
Coming from a generally Panasonic user (and a Canon guy before that), the fact that the rear screen isn't a touch screen is a bit strange. I know Sony has the ability to add one, and there are many cases (such as autofocus selection) where this would be helpful, but alas, it lacks one.Does A7RII have ibis? ›
As I have already mentioned above, the A7R II now has 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS), which down-grades to 3-axis IBIS when non-native lenses are used.Does the Sony A7Rii have a low pass filter? ›
The a7R II omits the low-pass filter from its sensor to allow for even more detail in your images.Is Sony A7Riii good for night photography? ›
The good news is that Sony full frame models have great sensors as well as excellent autofocus performance in low light. They provide all the tools you need to survive your night photography session or any other low light situation you might come across.How do I change the f stop on my Sony A7R? ›
Press the Fn button. Press the center of the multi-selector/control button. Push the multi-selector/control button up or down to select the desired setting. Program Auto allows the camera to automatically determine the aperture and shutter speed, while other settings can be adjusted manually and saved.Is Sony a7riv worth it? ›
The Sony a7R IV has the highest resolution of any full frame camera ever, combined with a range of advanced features and capabilities, making it an intriguing option for landscape, portrait, and architectural photographers or anyone looking for a ton of detail in their images.Can I use my Sony a7iii in the rain? ›
A7iii in the rain?
|Shutter speed||1/80 sec|
While Sony cameras don't have the very best weather sealing around, they do have enough for you to be able to get out into a decent rain or snowstorm without having to worry about your expensive electronics frying.Do professionals use Sony cameras? ›
A particular favourite among professional sports photographers, the Sony A9 Mark II mirrorless camera has a 24.2MP full-frame sensor and 4K video capabilities. But what's remarkable about this mirrorless camera is the blistering continuous shooting mode, nearly twice the speed of the original A9.Is there a camera better than the Sony A7III? ›
The Nikon Z6 II is Nikon's answer to the Sony A7III, and it is a good answer for dedicated Nikon shooters. The 24-megapixel full-frame sensor has excellent dynamic range, and the phase-detect autofocus system is one of the best I've used.
Are Sony Mirrorless Cameras Reliable - 150+ Weddings & 3 Years Later?What does the R stand for in Sony A7R? ›
The A7R features a whopping 36.4 million-pixel full-frame sensor, but it has had the anti-aliasing filter removed. The R in the A7R's name stands for resolution, so the emphasis here is on getting the highest possible picture quality.What model is Sony a7rii? ›
Sony a7R II Full-frame Camera | ILCE-7RM2 |Sony US.Is Sony a7ii good for beginners? ›
I would suggest that an a7 is an excellent beginner's camera. I would also point out that something like an a6000 would also be fit-for-purpose for your stated goals. The a6000 would be smaller and a little less expensive. Really, all of the entry-level APS-C cameras would do just fine for product photography.Is the Sony a711 full-frame? ›
Breathtaking image quality meets unrivaled shooting freedom in the α7 II, the world's first1 full-frame camera with 5-axis image stabilization. Discover full-frame, palm-sized perfection and stability for all! Stunning 24.3-megapixel resolution, low noise, extremely wide dynamic range, and subtle gradations.Is the a7III worth it in 2022? ›
Without a shred of doubt if you are looking for one of the best interchangeable lens cameras in the market the Sony a7III is one of the top cameras you can look at. Even after three years of its launching, it is still one of the most balanced camera systems if you are looking for a combined video and still shooter.Is Sony a7 II good for video? ›
The Sony a7 II has appeal for both still and video shooters. It includes simple ways to gather some nice looking clips, without much fuss, as well as features seasoned videographers might find useful. Like most digital cameras, the a7 II does not use all of the data coming off the sensor to record video.Does Sony a7ii have eye AF? ›
Best Sony A7 III Accessories
Eye AF isn't actually such a recent development. Sony first introduced Eye AF functionality all the way back in 2013 – almost the Palaeolithic Era in terms of digital camera technology.
- Save Battery by Turning off the Display and/or EVF. ...
- Uncompressed Raw. ...
- Eye AF. ...
- Upgrade the Display Quality. ...
- Set a Minimum Shutter Speed for Auto ISO. ...
- Charge your Battery during Shooting. ...
- Add Features such as Timelapse through PlayMemories Apps.
All in all, the A7R II is likely to be my go-to camera for most shoots, documentary, event and corporate. It's small, balances quickly on my gimbal, has excellent 4k quality and the option of recording slow motion in HD, amazing auto-focusing and, using an adapter, I can use all of my existing Canon lenses.
Sony Uncompressed RAW & the A7RII buffer Problem - YouTubeIs Sony coming out with a new camera in 2022? ›
Sony will release three mirrorless models in 2022, according to Sony Alpha Rumors: the Sony a7R V, the a9 III, and an “unknown” camera. Together, these cameras will bolster Sony's already impressive mirrorless lineup and even expand into new territory, depending on the identity of the yet-to-be-revealed third offering.Which is the best camera in Sony? ›
|Sony A7R II||42.4||$3198|
|Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II||42.4||$3300|
|Sony A7 III||24.2||$2000|
Should you buy the Sony A7III in 2022? - YouTubeHow many megapixels do you need for wedding photography? ›
But when I am shooting a wedding, I find this too much resolution. It has no use at all. Having between 20 and 30 megapixels is more than enough for these occasions. I think something like a 24 megapixels resolution is the best choice for most photographers today.Do wedding photographers use mirrorless cameras? ›
Mirrorless cameras are a great choice for capturing beautiful wedding photos. They are smaller than DSLRs, easy to carry around, provide great video and offer a true silent mode. I believe that the Sony a7R III is the best overall mirrorless camera for wedding photography.Is Sony mirrorless good for photography? ›
Without more context than this, you can't beat the Sony A1. It's one of—if not the—best mirrorless cameras on the market at the moment. Super-fast 30 fps capture from a 50-megapixel sensor makes this beast the top of the heap.