*Welcome the newest member of the TRP family, the Sony A7mk2.

Sony Alpha 7 mark 2

Well, I’ve pulled the trigger.  This is the first Sony camera that I have personally owned, although I’ve tested others, and shot with cameras that also use a Sony sensor, so it is a bit of a thing for me.  In the coming weeks I’ll be posting on my thoughts, findings, results and comparisons with this new intriguing mirrorless full frame camera.  For now, come on in to see the unboxing and read a few of my initial thoughts on the camera…

As the camera is still charging (note that I didn’t say battery… more about that in a sec) I will keep this post to a strict first impression of the physical build and perceived quality of the bells and whistles with much more thorough tests and opinions to come.

Above in the video you see that I have chosen to buy this camera as body only along with the Metabones EF>Emount mark 4 smart adapter.  This is largely because I have been shopping for a replacement for my still good, yet long in the tooth Canon 5DmkII.  Canon, in my opinion, has not done anything since the release of the 5DmkII to convince me of spending any money.  While a personal decision which I’ll get into more later as I test the Sony with my Canon lenses, this new camera has intrigued me as I’m sure it has for many other Canon shooters, primarily because with the addition of smart adapters like the Metabones, it enables auto focus and full EXIF support for most native EF mount lenses.  The A7II also adds features like IBIS, WiFi and decent weather sealing which are either not available with modern Canon cameras, or require a pretty hefty premium.

Nothing in the current landscape offers what the A7ii does, at anywhere near the price, on paper anyway.  I’m excited to put it through its paces, and I will be adding articles.  Don’t worry, I’m still shooting my micro 4/3 system cameras, and feel that this move is more a diversification of my options than a replacement for anything which I’ll explain more of in the coming weeks.

Here are the initial thoughts:

  • The build quality seems solid.  Decent heft, but very manageable weight wise.
  • The button layout will take a little getting used to, but all the important features seem to have direct buttons.
  • Ergonomically, it sits well in my large hands.  Will be interesting to see it with large, full frame optics though as it’s comparable in size to the Oly EM1 or Pana GH4.
  • WTF is Sony thinking in requiring the battery to be charged while in the camera?  There may be some benefit, but if there is, I have no idea what that may be at this point.
  • Because the battery/camera is still charging currently, I can’t speak yet to the LCD, EVF, IBIS, WiFi, or other interactive features.
  • The Metabones adapter is solid, and like I’ve read, it is EXTREMELY tight when fitting an EF lens on it.  Should break in a little bit, but that is no joke, really tight.

Obviously I’ll need to wait to get some shots, and will be doing so as soon as the camera is done charging.  Can this be a reasonable alternative to a Canon full frame body for me?  I think that it brings things to the table, and will have obvious tradeoffs which I will have to weigh.  I’m excited to see though.

Thanks for the read, and stay tuned via the socials for new stuff as it lands.  Find me on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or Instagram  and to stay posted on new articles, feel free to add your email address at the top right of the page here.  You’ll get email alerts as new articles are released.

Thanks all and happy shooting,

Tyson

23 thoughts on “*Welcome the newest member of the TRP family, the Sony A7mk2.

  1. Two thoughts.
    Does this particular Sony also play 1080P and/or 4K 3D?
    And I’ve yet to open the OMD E-M5 Mk ll that was delivered today. And asking myself the same questions.
    Canikon should be worried.
    Have fun!

    Like

    • Hi Jim,

      The A7s is the only current full frame mirrorless to shoot 4K, but this A7ii has a 4K Stills mode, which why they just don’t call that a 16mp image, I don’t know. I’ve yet to investigate, but I’m guessing it has something like a 4K translated time-lapse feature or something of the sort, and instead of handling 24 fps, it does something like 10 or whatever.

      I just had a look at the EM5-2 at ProPhoto today when I picked this up. In the hand, it seems to have improved subtlety, but absolutely from the EM5 in my opinion. I’ve gotten used to the flip up/down LCD as opposed to the flip and out style because I find it useful when shooting at waist level, but other than that, it seems like the buttons are more solid and responsive, and that 40mp feature is very interesting.

      Yeah, Canikon are just playing safe, and really gouging in my opinion. Sure there are pieces of tech that can “justify” the price, but what I’m finding is that when faced with the “do I really need that for $2,000 more than something like this?” type quandary, I’m realizing that for what I shoot, the answer for 99% of it is no. I did get out to shoot for about 15 minutes today with the A7ii, and I would initially say that it will not be a replacement for a Canon body in the general sense due to the very sluggish AF with the Canon lenses, it seems to produce a really nice file, and by most accounts has a better performing sensor than any of the current Canon’s, so there will certainly be tradeoffs, and at what I see as a reasonable price all things considered, I see it as a compliment as opposed to a replacement. I can literally fit this thing in a pocket with my Voigtlander 40mm f/2 Ultron on it. Pretty cool for a full frame camera🙂

      enjoy, and perhaps we need another coffee chat and compare session?

      Talk soon and take care,
      t

      Like

  2. Interesting, I wondered how long it would be before you dived I and got a Sony. They are doing some interesting things and I’m really interested to see your take on it. Good to hear M4/3s is staying, for the time anyway🙂 good stuff man.

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    • I know, I know. I’ve spent the last 5 years or so, not buying anything for my FF Canon setup, largely because there was nothing that I saw as justifiable for the cost. The 5D2 is still more than I need for most applications, but because it is a larger, heavier camera, I really found the micro 4/3 system to be hugely complimentary, and even competitive for much of what I like to shoot. I will absolutely still be shooting the m4/3 system because even with a camera like this Sony, the lenses are still huge and heavy, less a couple of available pancake types. There is no way to get around the need to properly focus light onto a full frame sensor, and that’s cool. My whole take has kinda been, m4/3 + FF offer two different enough sets of tools with APS-C kinda being a bridge that can more or less satisfy or compromise between the two where I’d see it as surplus to either a m4/3 setup or a FF setup, for most stuff anyway. That said, I’m still really taken with the Fuji stuff, and if I had a ton of money, I’d want to add that as well🙂 I’ll just have to settle for this, for the time being. I hope all’s well man!

      t

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      • Yeah, the lenses of the m4/3 are a ridiculously good quality for size. I’m very interested to see how well the Sony performs with the Canon lenses. The fact you have bought the Sony solely to use canon lenses is a really interesting concept and I look forward to seeing what occurs. My biggest question will be, will it be food enough to replace the Canon body all together? If so, then we’ll done Sony and metabones. I’m good thanks man, working alot but looking forward to getting out with camera soon. Hope you and the family are doing OK and your son is still good.

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      • With the Canon lenses and the Metabones adapter it is S L O W as snot AF wise, but with the focus peaking, MF is pretty quick and accurate. Certainly not a great camera/lens combo for the kids (which we’re all doing well, thank you), sports or birding, but for my interior work and landscape stuff, I think it is going to be great.

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  3. Yeah, with adaptors something always has to give. My fingers were crossed that it would be just as fast as the Canon but at a lower price, which would throw as a nice bit of competition in and allow prices of the bigger babies to drop in order to compete. Oh well, wishful thinking Haha. Im interested to see how it performs. Like you say indoor stuff (like the interior of the restaurant and fantastic whisky bar you have in portland) will look great. What’s the balance like with a big ass lens on it? I know when sticking the FD zoom on the end of my GX7 is rather front heavy. Glad the family are well man, you guys need a break🙂

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      • yes, the a7 is (after a bit of configuration) a great (and quite easy) camera to use. it even feels a bit lighter than my beloved e-p5 which is something i really appreciate. i’ve used it mainly with my 100mm f2.8 om zuiko and this combination really delivers🙂
        what 40mm pancake are you using at the moment? the voigtländer? that sounds interesting🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, the EF mount Voigtländer Ultron 40mm f/2. It’s a great little lens and has provided a really great mate to the A7ii. With the focus peaking, and focus assist magnification features, it makes MF operation so much easier and quicker (certainly quicker than the AF enabled via the Metabones adapter for AF lenses).

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  4. I’m not sure I totally understand your decision to buy the Sony. at 24mp it is not significantly better than the 5D mkIII. Using your Canon glass sacrifices a lot of benefit of the really whizzy IS in the Sony.

    I considered dumping my 5D mk III when the A7/A7R came out. There was A Sony event at Glazers up here in Seattle. I found the AF with the Metabones adapter on a Canon Lens to be somewhere between glacial and epochal with respect to focus. I expect the MkII adapter is better. The Sony lenses are pretty pricey for the premium ones. And the selection is still limited.

    In a sort of tepid defense of Canon and Nikon. They are trapped by their own success with DSLRs. They have a phenomenal investment in Lenses. Re-engineering them for mirrorless cameras would be very (if not prohibitively) expensive. Plus for full frame they would still be just as big if not slightly bigger (length wise to accommodate the shorter register length).

    As your blog has been ably demonstrating the micro 4/3 world is very capable. With an ever growing selection of mostly affordable lenses.

    So my Canon stuff sits upstairs collecting dust and A Panasonic GX7 or GH3 (very recently replaced by a GH4) are the cameras that leave the house.

    I guess in closing the only system I see that I might want to dabble in is the Samsung NX1. I haven’t see too much in the way of reviews on it and the lens selection is fairly limited but on paper is seems like there is some real potential there. Not sure how I feel about buying a camera from a company that makes dishwashers and refrigerators though.

    Best Regards – Rich B

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    • I personally am interested in seeing what results can be had with the fantastic canon lenses button a cheaper / smaller body. The Samsung does seem like and interesting thing but I prefer the gh4 (how are you finding it?) sorry to jump on and reply, I know you were asking Tyson, I just find myself pretty interested in the Sony and like to see what results can be had (even if slow AF restricts use) . Chris ps Panasonic Make dishwashers and refrigerators.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Rich. Let me approach this firstly from the Canon angle. The 5Dmk3 offers an incremental upgrade, in my opinion, to my 5Dmk2. Basically, it has a superior AF system and very slight metric bumps in IQ parameters like s:n/high ISO performance, etc. Nothing groundbreaking (unless of course you need the AF performance). To me, for $3500 to get a better AF system was insane for what I shoot. Now that it is 3 years old and starting to officially creep down to the $2500 realm, it begs the question, is a 3 year old camera worth a still very incremental upgrade in performance and feature, again for what I shoot. The answer for me is no. Would I like a 5D3? Absolutely, but not at that cost. If it were selling for the same price as these new Sonys, then it might be a tougher question. What the Sony brings, again for me, are newer, more useful features like wireless file transfer/wifi operation, IBIS, tilting screen (which I’ve become very used to and love!), EVF (which I’ve learned to enjoy) because of real time exposure display making it really handy when shooting, focus peaking (hugely useful, making MF very quick and reliable) and this is at the cost of AF operation, which is, even with the Metabones v4 adapter, painfully slow. I’m still not completely sold on this camera, but have really only had it for 2 days so far🙂 I’m realizing that it is not a replacement for my 5D2, but rather a compliment. The sensor, while only slightly better resolution, has noticeably better dynamic range which is a pretty big deal when I’m looking to shoot landscape or interior stuff, which is ultimately what I was aiming for with this guy. It will certainly not be my go to when shooting quickly moving subjects, but I’ve found that just dragging it around the last two days, I’ve not been too worried about having the AF be a severe hinderance. I will probably end up with a Sony-Zeiss lens or two, but really, I’m happy with it as is when using the EF mount lenses so far.

      I’ll obviously be going into more detail as I get more experience with it, and it is certainly not a perfect camera, but for what it does offer, I’m finding that I can largely overlook what it lacks as I knew what I was going to get.

      Canon needs to step it up, whether that be with the DSLR side of things or otherwise. Charging huge premiums for something like a WFTP device to be added to a $3000+ camera to achieve what most mirrorless cameras now offer, included, or handy features like live exposure viewing, focus peaking, etc, all in camera bodies that offer most all of what the expensive full frame DSLR’s do, is going to shift some stuff I’d hope. There are still needs to be met, and I’m seeing that I’m shifting more toward the “live without while saving tons of money” vs. “gaining access to slightly better operational performance for a substantial premium” camp. While FF lenses will always be large and heavy, the combination of a pancake lens and one of these Sonys is no larger than an EM1 and say the Oly 17mm which is pretty amazing.

      If and when I need the AF performance, I can always rent a 5D3, or pick one up in a year or so when people are ditching them for a grand or so. I’ve just had a hard time justifying the cost that Canon have been asking, and have found other ways to achieve, and streamline much of my shooting.

      It’s been fun, and I do think that as much as Canikon are slow on the uptake, mirrorless is going to be a large part of the future of imaging, especially when looking at the need to provide hybrid shooting devices.

      Thanks as always Rich, and I’d be happy to try and answer any other questions too.

      Cheers man,

      t

      Like

  5. Tyson -Thank you for your detailed and well presented reply. I pretty much agree with you. I went from a Canon 7D to the 5DmkIII. I went through a lot of soul searching before I pulled the trigger. I stood at the camera store counter for a long time with a 6d and the 5D3 in front of me wondering which to go with. Weight was a factor as well as the AF system. In the end the AF won out. It is a beast to carry around though.

    I backed into the micro 4/3 system as replacement for a “bridge camera”. Which I found to be just too slow and seriously lacking in IQ. I bought a Panasonic GX1 with 14-42 power zoom and the 45-175 power zoom. The GX1 has a kind of clunky interface but it does produce pretty good results. It was my door into the abyss. The upgrade to the GH4 is huge. It is significantly better than the GH3 in many ways. I’ve only had the body a couple of weeks but it is so much nicer than the GH3 with respect to almost every thing I’m starting to leave the GX7 at home. I don’t dare add up what i’ve spent on follow on camera bodies and lenses. This retired old guy might have a stroke. Bottom line is that I find that the micro 4/3 stuff is fun to use and gives me great results.

    Sony has and is bringing some major innovation to the market along with Panasonic, Olympus and Fuji. I could easily become a fanboy for any of these systems. They all bring a lot of great and useful features to the table. The bottom line is how they perform in hand for what you want to do. As a retired engineer I can dwell on the technical BS as much as anybody. I’ll be looking forward to your user reports for the Sony.

    Good shooting and Best Regards – Rich

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some day I would really like a 5D3, or even possibly a 5DS if I can upgrade my desktop components to handle the files🙂, but just can’t justify the cost. If I were making money shooting sports or even events then it would make sense, but for me, all my current paid jobs are mostly static or sittings where AF speed (or even auto focus at all) is largely ignorable.

      I think that most of the folks choosing the Sony’s to use with Canon glass are of the landscape variety mostly from what I’ve read and heard which makes sense.

      I’m still not going to say I won’t ever invest in the Sony system, but if they keep offering this much at these prices and bring their fledgling full frame optics along, I don’t know? Never say never, but right now, I’m happy sitting on the two systems (m4/3 & Canon/Sony FF w/EF mount lenses). Most likely I’ll pony up for the Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 if it hits a rebate program down the line, but I can’t see myself being in a rush necessarily.

      Thanks as always for the conversation Rich. I do really enjoy it🙂

      Cheers,

      Tyson

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  6. Pingback: Sony Tidbits… | sonyalpharumors

  7. Re: wtf was Sont thinking?
    1. That has been know since the original A7 came out. Did you not research? Easily solved by buying a $80 Sony charger (usually at the same store you buy the camera) or a $10 ebay one. Works the same.
    2. Charging in camera is brilliant. What do you do when your canikon runs out of battery? Pack it away. When the Sony runs out (very often unfortunately) you can either use a usb car charger, usb phone charger or use a usb power bank. Get a larger battery pack which can last many battery recharges or power the camera for quite some time.

    Q2U. Can you assign the viewfinder/monitor to a button now? Was a big cryout in the original reviews but NONE of the mk2 reviews have mentioned it. Now that is a wtf moment🙂

    Like

    • 1. While not very well documented from any of the sites and research I found, I’d have thought that even if it was well documented, Sony would have included a battery charger with the new generation because they absolutely should. Sure, it is easily solved by spending more money, but that in my opinion is BS. A simple battery charger is something that comes with every other camera I’ve ever, bought, used or even heard of. Is there value in charging a battery in camera? Maybe, but to exclude a pretty integral piece of hardware that every other camera manufacturer provides, forcing those of us who purchase multiple batteries (because the battery performance is pretty poor as is the case with newer, power hungry cameras making multiple batteries crucial to full day shooting) to have to wait, and stop shooting if we want to charge a battery. It would be fine, and a welcome option IF they also included a standard charger. That they have omitted the charger, forcing us to buy one is the “WTF” not that you can charge a battery in the camera.

      2. I can also car charge batteries for my other systems via the lighter adapter because many chargers offer the ability to add a power adapter, or USB adapter too, so charging batteries via a cigarette lighter isn’t something unique to Sony, and again to so so with the Sony requires you to stop using the camera which again, forces one to stop shooting.

      Yes, it is a handy feature only if they also allow someone to charge a battery without also occupying the camera. And yes, we can spend $80 as you say to buy a Sony charger, but herein lies my problem with Sony. I should not have to pay $80 for something that should absolutely be included in my opinion.

      It isn’t, and fair game to Sony if that is how they’re setting this system up, but I’m also fully able to disagree with, and voice my opinion on the matter because as you say, it should be well documented, and for those researching this camera as I have, coming from a Canon system, they may very well stumble across my site and will now know that this system will require an expensive add on to charge their battery if they want to do so while still using the camera via another battery.

      Regarding the Viewfinder Button, I’m not sure if the original 7 series had a dedicated EVF button, but the a7ii does not. You can assign one of a variety of buttons to the EVF/LCD screen menu, but I do find it odd that there isn’t a quick button to switch between the two OR the ability to adjust the sensitivity of the auto switch proximity sensor in the eye piece which switches when anything comes within about 6″ of the EVF which is annoying. If I could disable it, and had a quick button to switch between the EVF and LCD, I’d greatly prefer that, but as is, I’ve not yet found a way to do that without menu diving which is too bad.

      Thanks for the comment, and your opinions. I appreciate it.

      Cheers,

      Tyson

      Like

  8. I just received my new Sony A6000 about a week ago and have been using it with a Commlite adapter. I was going to sell my Canon lenses but they work great in manual focus mode with focus peaking.
    I have been using my 10-22, 24-105, and 70-200 f4. Auto focus is slow. I’ve heard that the metabones adapter won’t fit certain A7 camera models. Check this out.

    Like

    • Focus peaking has been an absolute revelation for me. I think there is still room for improvement, and I’m not going to hold my breath as it is kind of a gateway to using third party optics which I’m sure most companies aren’t stoked on, but with video, macro work and of course, adapted manual focus optics, it is just awesome.

      I’m not aware of incompatibilities with the Metabones adapter, and maybe that is why they are already on a version 4, but I can say that it works seamlessly on the A7II, albeit with the admitted snail’s pace regarding AF. As long as the Commlite, or similar adapter transmits EXIF, and allows control of the aperture, I don’t see a whole lot of reason to use a more expensive Metabones adapter myself, at least on paper. All I can talk about is the Metabones adapter personally though, and while it isn’t cheap, I have to say that it is a quality piece of gear, or has been for me so far.

      Thanks Owen! I’ll have a look at the video you’ve linked.

      Cheers,

      Tyson

      Like

  9. Charging in camera is good to save weight when hiking
    You cannot tell build quality just from the weight. By that argument a brick is stronger than a diamond
    You can charge in a charger if you want to

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    • Having the ability to charge a battery in camera from a USB power source is great! I think that all cameras should provide that ability, and I’m going to be setting up a review on some solar charging, portable power products soon with the a7ii front and center. My problem is when that is the only way that a camera battery can be charged out of the box as it entirely disables being able to shoot with a spare battery while charging the other, which is prohibitive and a poor choice by Sony in my opinion. I like being able to simultaneously shoot with one battery while charging the other so as to never have the camera out of commission.

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