Seriously considering A7Rii for pro work. Need honest advice.

Started Aug 23, 2015 | Discussions thread
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Bouvetoya New Member • Posts: 4
Seriously considering A7Rii for pro work. Need honest advice.


I am a professional travel photographer, and am seriously considering buying an A7Rii and 2 or 3 lenses to try out in addition to my main kit. (I'm not going to replace my main stuff until I am 100% sure that the alternative is better. Any complete switch of systems would likely take years if I'm truly honest.)


  • Weight is a big factor. I often travel 'light', but 2 full frame DSLRs plus 3 or 4 lenses is quite simply not light - leading to difficult decisions about what to pack, or how far to walk!
  • Mechanical simplicity. No AF fine tuning issues - I recently seem to have knocked the AF module out of alignment on one of my DSLRs. Something I didn't realise until too late. Mirrorless obviously removes this point of failure, as well as that of the mirror, etc.
  • The A7Rii seems to have real potential as an 'all in one body' - high MP and good high ISO. This could remove my current situation of carrying one high MP body, and one high ISO body, and the compromises that entails.
  • Built in optical stabilisation, especially useful when used with...
  • Legacy glass (although not for my main stuff, as I need sealing)
  • Intrigued by eye-AF
  • Nice looking prime lenses. The Batis siblings and the 90mm macro are some of the stand-outs for me.
  • And also because it's good to keep abreast of developments, even if they turn out to not be suitable for what I'm doing at the moment.

To try this out I am looking at over £5000 to buy the camera and 3 lenses that interest me. If I hire it for long enough to get a proper impression, I'm looking at over £500 just for the body, and I can't even find the lenses I want for hire anyway. Either way, it's a lot of money for me. (I didn't say that I was very successful travel photographer.)

So I've been trying to absorb as much information about the camera as I can. This is easier said than done, as the internet is rather polarised on this camera. A load of people are treating it as practically perfect, and invalidating anyone's genuine concerns, while others simply dismiss it because certain features are not as good as DSLRs, when the real question is whether it is good enough. I'm a realist - I know that it's neither a perfect camera nor a pointless one. The thing I need to discover is whether it suits what I need from it.

So, my questions/concerns:

  • Sony Pro support. Has anyone used it in anger? If so, how does it compare to Canon or Nikon (the former being better than the latter in my experience)? Is it available for those of us outside the USA, and what's its global coverage like?
  • Accessories. I'm not really a flash user, so that isn't a problem, but what about things like double battery chargers, GPS modules, etc? Any timelines?
  • Lenses. The line up is really filling out now with some great quality stuff, but I can still see a bit of a hole in the zooms - particularly a 24-70 f2.8, and even a 24-1xx f4, which are very useful for me. Is there any sign of these on a lens roadmap? Not keen on adapters due to reliability requirements. Would probably choose the 24-70 f4 as a stop-gap, although sadly it seems to be one of the few weaker lenses in the line-up.
  • Sealing. Yes, I know that some people are all of a sudden making a big deal of this, but it's genuinely important for me. In particular how it handles humidity and sand/dust - the hardest things to avoid in my experience. I know it's not 1D/D4 quality sealing, but are their any known issues? I've seen a couple of mentions of the screen hinge not liking water. Could I treat it as badly (unintentionally - things happen) as a Nikon or Canon DSLR and still get away with it?
  • SD card only. I mainly use CF, but I think SD shouldn't be too much of a problem. But thoughts appreciated.
  • Control layout. I've had a play with an A7 in a shop, and found it a touch cramped, but that's likely a familiarity thing. I really prefer back button focus. Does the A7Rii layout comfortably allow for back button focus (complete with automatically switching to MF when I don't hold it down and focus manually) and the separate eye-AF button I believe that functionality requires? I found the default AF/MF switch button combo a little clunky, although again that may be a familiarity thing.
  • Battery life. I've heard some really varied claims. Anyone getting some more realistic numbers now?
  • Lossless compressed RAW. Seems silly that Sony left out such a minor bit after such a technical tour-de-force, but it really doesn't seem to be that big of a deal as far as I can tell. Plus it's being fixed anyway, I understand. All good?
  • Can I see all of the EVF with eye-glasses?
  • General reliability. Am I just swapping unreliable AF modules for unreliable sensor shift, for example? My cameras take a hammering, an it's actually really rare that they let me down.

Other things, like the EVF quality, grip shape and balance with larger lenses I'll just have to try for myself, as they're much more personal in my experience. (Even if I like it more, it still might not be worth the cost of the switch for me - as contrary to much of what I read here, all the main systems are damn good.)

In short, am I jumping the gun? Is it worth waiting for Sony to bring out a more 'pro' model, with better sealing, bigger battery, CF slot, etc.? Is that even the type of thing Sony will do, or has done in the past?

I can see that the sensor and tech inside the body is undoubtedly 'pro' quality - that's why I'm so interested in it - and if I was a wedding photographer I'd almost certainly be all over it, but sadly I'm not. Every day I'm closer to reaching over the fence (not jumping, remember), but that price means I really have to be able to justify my decision.

(Before you ask, I'm not going to link this account to my professional name/business/photos. I've seen DPReview comments get a bit 'heated' in the past, and I'd prefer to keep it all at arms length. If that is an issue for you, then may I politely ask that you simply ignore this post. It's only a camera, and I don't want to lose that perspective.)

I'd really appreciate people's honest, unbiased thoughts. Please don't try and 'hard sell' me this or any other camera, regardless of brand. I would simply like to know the good, the bad and everything in between in your experience, so that I can hopefully make up my own mind.

Many thanks.

 Bouvetoya's gear list:Bouvetoya's gear list
Nikon Coolpix S31 Nikon Coolpix S32 Nikon D750 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G +4 more
Sony a7R II Sony FE 24-70mm F4 OSS Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8
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