I recently purchased a Sony A7R Mark II, my first upgrade after 6 years of shooting primarily with the Canon 5D Mark II. For the past several months, I have been shooting with a Sony A7S (rental from Borrowlenses) for my BMX documentary, Generation BMX, as well as for photography for The New York Times. Its low light capability and silent shooting mode has been a blessing in many situations but things on the still photography & stabilization side needed to improve for me to invest in a new all-round camera.
So when the A7R Mark II was announced I had the feeling it may be “the one.” I felt the same way as I did when the 5D Mark II was announced back in the day, “It’s exactly what I need for the type of work I do now.” Now I did spend an ungodly amount of time reading “reviews” (can you call it that when the product wasn’t even available yet?) which contributed nothing new to my own reasons. I just needed to make the leap and go for it. The positives of owning a A7R Mark II promised to far outweigh the negatives, if there were any.
I placed an order with Unique Photo on August 5th and received my camera on the 7th. After watching videos by Wayne Goodman, I skipped buying the expensive Metabones adapter and went with Commlite. I own Canon and Sigma lenses and already planned to shoot stills & video manually, so as long as the adapter recognized them I’d be content.
I went on a stroll in Riverside Park this past Sunday evening with my Sony A7R Mark II, Commlite, a couple of extra (also cheap) Wasabi batteries, and my absolutely stunning Canon 135mm f2 L. I haven’t shot video yet but when I do, you’ll see them here. Or you can subscribe to this. Otherwise, you’ll find me sharing on Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
My short conclusion: this camera kicks ass in stills and I’m feeling confident in its video capabilities. I’ll always love my 5D Mark II and it never failed me in the six years I’ve shot hundreds of thousands of stills and thousands of hours of video. This is not me switching to Sony because I’m in a loyalty “my brand is better than your brand” program. It’s simply that the A7R Mark II is the right all-around camera for me at the moment. My Canon 24-70mm f2.8L works very well with the Commlite adapter for auto-focus. Not so much with the Sigma 35 1.4 ART and Canon 135 f2 but it doesn’t matter because I embraced manual focusing and all its glory with the focus peaking feature. My goal is to downsize my gear and use smaller lenses. I don’t get paid extra to feel like a pack-mule and I don’t need extra brownie points with “real” artists because my gear bag overfloweth. (Is that a telephoto or are you just happy to see me?). And while we can bitch and moan about noise level at higher ISOs and rolling shutter, someone has released a feature length film shot with an iPhone 5s.
Think about that. Gear does not an artist make. It never did. It never will.