Sony A7ii is a huge step up from APS-C camp!

Started Dec 24, 2017 | User reviews thread
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ottonis Contributing Member • Posts: 766
Sony A7ii is a huge step up from APS-C camp!
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First of all, I have been shooting with the Sony Nex 5n since 2011 and still have this little beauty. I adore tiny cameras and could not imagine using a huge DSLR-brick.

A camera needs to be unobtrusive and allow for going "under the radar" when shooting candid shots, at parties, concerts, meetings etc.

However, the venerable Nex5n somehow didn't really manage to deliver good shots results at ISOs at ISO 1600 or greater.  For my type of photography that was a serious limitation, because I love to shoot at dimly lit parties and "catch the moments" at available/low light situations.

That's why I have been looking around for a full frame camera for several years now, being fully aware that a serious step forward in terms of low-light capability would only be made possible by swithing from APS-C to FF format. Although being very interested in the A6300/6500 which scored significantly higher in dxomark compared to the Nex5n, the improvement delta was just too small for me in order to stay  in APS-C land. THis might have not been the case if Sony had decided to incorporate a BSI sensor in their latest APS-C models, thus substantially improving on the low-light-performance.

So, I waited and pondered and waited and pondered until the price of the A7ii came substantially down: I got one new along with the adorable Sony SEL 85mm f1.8, which was recently released and gained critical acclaim-at a ver affordable price (for Sony standards).

I shot the entire christmas party of our company last week using only the A7ii +SEL85mm f.18. and have been very pleasently surprised by the results. BEcause I didn't have the time to thouroughly study alloptions and menus, I set fixed aperture f1.8 and fixed shutter speed 1/100 sec at variable /automatic ISO (100-6400).

At first, I was surprised to see that the camera mostly chose ISOs between 3200 and 6400 (most shots were 6400), so my first reaction was: "damn, this won't end well". However, to my huge suprise, the noise floor even at 6400 ISO was fairly modest and absolutely workable with. IN contrast to the Nex5n, the noise of the A7ii was more "film-grain"-like and by far not as optically disturbing. It could be very well controlled in Raw and the files had a dynamic range that by far exceeded my expectations.

I guess that the IBIS also helped quite a lot in order to eliminate camera shake and make the photos sharper than they would have been due to my sloppy technique.

There were two negative things that I encountered:

- the overall operational speed was quite disappointing. However, In retrospect I think this was partly my fault because the "image review was set to 2 seconds after each shot, so I was blocked from getting into new focusing and composing after every shot because of that.

-At these dimly lit location, the autoficus was lighyears ahead of what I could have achieved with the Nex5n + SEL50f1.8(that one  would not have even acquired focus at all in many shots). However, AF tended to hunt quite a bit, even after getting the AF right.

I guess that I will have to experiment a lot with the different AF modes on the A7ii.

All in all, having used it only a couple of days after purchase in a "serious shooting event", the A7ii delivered exceptionally well. The difference compared to its APS-C sibling is huge. The resulting RAW files (I set up to uncompressed raw only) do have so much latitude to work with, that this is just breathtaking.

I have only scratched on the surface of what this gem is capable of and I am absolutely shure that getting more accustomed with all the menus and options will advance the results obtainable with this camera even further.

I am more than happy and I think that this was exactly the right camera for me, probably the MILC with the best price-performance ratio currently available. If I didn't have the huge "large-size-phobia", I would possibly have gone with the Nikon 750, but on the mirrorless side of cameras, there is nothing that can touch the A7ii at this price.

BEst

David

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 ottonis's gear list:ottonis's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-5N Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Sony a7 II Sony E 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Voigtlander 40mm F1.4 Nokton Classic +6 more
Sony a7 II
24 megapixels • 3 screen • Full frame sensor
Announced: Nov 20, 2014
ottonis's score
4.5
Average community score
4.7
bad for good for
Kids / pets
okay
Action / sports
acceptable
Landscapes / scenery
excellent
Portraits
excellent
Low light (without flash)
great
Flash photography (social)
unrated
Studio / still life
great
= community average
Sony a7 II Sony Alpha NEX-5N
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