About to buy a new A7RII vs an A7III - given what I shoot, am I making a mistake?

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Mordi Senior Member • Posts: 2,304
About to buy a new A7RII vs an A7III - given what I shoot, am I making a mistake?

I’m about to pull the trigger on a new A7RII, and I’d appreciate any feedback from the forum on any gaps in my thinking. Am I missing something about the A7RII versus a similarly priced A7III? My sense is the features that make the A7III so outstanding probably aren’t relevant to me – but the higher-res A7RII sensor is.

My budget is about $2500.

I currently shoot an A7II. Beyond personal stills, I shoot business videos for a medical client. I always shoot those videos with manual focus lenses on the A7II – usually an 85mm f2 Nikon AiS for talking heads – I can’t risk even the best AF wandering to the background. I need to shoot at wide apertures to make sure any patients in the background of my scenes aren’t easily recognizable.

I shoot the bulk of the wider scenes with a 35mm f1.4 Summilux-M on a Yeenon dumb adapter, usually at f2.8-f4

A 15mm f4.5 Voigtlander Series III on a Yeenon dumb adapter gets a lot of use because most of the settings are very tight. Occasionally, I use a 50mm f2 Summicron-M just for perspective change. Always on tripod except for occasional floor-level braced hand-helds with the 15mm.

I record interview audio directly into the A7II with lavaliere mikes on the interviewee, because I am often in clinics where I can’t control ambient noise. I’m adding a wireless mike for scenes where it’s difficult to use a lavaliere, even with a 20 foot cord. I have a Rode shotgun mike but can use it only rarely. I power the camera with an AC adapter into a dummy battery, so for video work, battery power is not an issue. I tend to shoot clips of no more than 20 seconds each, and do a lot of editing; I do B-roll coverage of uncommon interview segments as long as 30 seconds. I’ve never had even a warm A7II or A7, so I doubt overheating will be an issue with the A7RII

The videos I shoot are all used on client web sites and YouTube, so shooting in MP4 has been sufficient quality. But I think the advances in the A7RII will enable me to use higher quality modes – and those videos may appear better when shown on large monitors in medical convention exhibits.

Those videos represent less than 10% of my annual camera use – but they’re part of a package of consulting and marketing communications services for that client. Fees from that client constitute about half my annual income. So my choice can’t jeopardize my ability to produce good quality work for them.

The other 90% of my shooting is personal stills, a lot of family events and grandkids, and travel landscapes and cathedral interiors. I rarely shoot personal videos with my A7II – my iPhone X does great for that.

I shoot those stills with the A7II, mostly with a TechArt Pro and 3 lenses from my film era – the 35mm f1.4 Summilux-M, a 50mm f2 Summicron-M, and a Canon FD 135mm f2.8 with an FD to M adapter. I shoot stills with the 15mm fSuper Heliar on the Yeenon adapter. I also own an FE 35mm f2.8 and an FE 28-70 kit zoom when I want faster AF and a zoom. When I need longer coverage, I use my A6000 with a very good 55-210. I have other lenses for the A6000 if I have to climb hills in the heat. I have no imminent plans to purchase more FE lenses.

I’m attracted by the A7RII vs. the A7III because of the higher-res sensor on landscapes. I rented an A7RII for a recent family event where the silent shutter was a big help. I then went to a local zoo, and tested the rented A7RII’s ability to deliver images out of which I could pull tight crops. It worked really well, and effectively almost doubled the “reach” of my primes.

I have an uncoming business video shoot on May 9 where I’d love to use an A7RII – and then, in July, a week trip to the national parks of Utah, and in September, 3-1/2 weeks in Italy and Croatia. I’ll keep the A7II as my backup.

Thoughts? THANKS!


 Mordi's gear list:Mordi's gear list
Sony Alpha a7 II Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2 Voigtlander 15mm F4.5 Super Wide Heliar Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Sony FE 35mm F2.8 +7 more
Sony a6000 Sony Alpha a7
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