Poll

How d'you feel about the camera now you've had some time with it?

I like it a lot
- 42 (59.2%)
It's pretty good, could see improvement; the next one could be great
- 17 (23.9%)
It's just a random camera, I don't care
- 8 (11.3%)
It's a POS, I should never have bought it
- 4 (5.6%)

Total Members Voted: 70


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Author Topic: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?  (Read 17647 times)

eronald

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Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« on: January 20, 2016, 01:40:23 pm »

Don't be shy, write :)
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chez

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Re: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2016, 02:43:20 pm »

How about never bought it...too expensive...living with A7R until price drops to under $2,500.
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Telecaster

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Re: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2016, 03:30:50 pm »

For a v2 flagship of a work-in-progress system IMO it's pretty darn good. If I use it like my simple & lovely Contax Ariaómanual focus Y/C Zeiss lenses, aperture priority or manual metering, film-era ISO rangeóit handles the brief very well. Also works well with the 25Ė85mm range of AF lenses I've put together so far. There are nits to pick, but I rarely focus on this unless I don't like a gizmo in the first placeÖ

-Dave-
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2016, 04:02:55 pm »

Hi,

I really like the A7rII. Why?

- Great image quality
- I can use Canon lenses
- I can use the HCam Master TS
- It can be configured to my needs


The major issues I have:

- Short battery life
- The menu system is a good example of a horrible menu layout
- It could be that the Sony lens program is a bit overpriced while a bit underwhelming

But, I see the camera as an imaging device. If it delivers on image quality, I am happy. The A7rII does it, with Canon lensesÖ

Best regards
Erik




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sbay

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Re: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2016, 04:04:31 pm »

I like it a lot for all the usual reasons: size, IQ, EVF, articulating screen, eye-af, etc.

But the camera is simply more complex than my old canon and I find I make more technical errors when shooting (e.g. leaving the wrong setting on). There are also some very annoying behaviors like not being able to use magnification unless you explicitly switch to MF mode or the IR remote triggering autofocus even when you have AF w/ shutter set to off (this one cost me several ruined images).

Hans van Driest

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Re: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2016, 04:06:01 am »

It is the best camera I have ever used. Not only does it deliver very good image quality, it does so with ease. It is often stated that to be able to gain the advantages of high resolution sensors, one needs good shot discipline. This is hardly the case for the a7r2. The total lack of shutter shock (EFC) or mirror slap in combination with IBIS, great high iso and a nice implementation of auto iso, make that I can simply concentrate on the image, and let the camera take care on getting it all. This was for me the biggest surprise after buying this camera. Never before was it so easy to get everything right. And when you need a tripod, usually a light one is good enough, since the camera does not generate any vibration that needs damping.
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Hywel

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Re: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2016, 04:50:29 am »

I'm very happy with mine.

The image quality is top-notch. On a par with or slightly better than my (5 years old but 5x the price) Hasselblad H3D31-II, in ideal studio situations. And much better in other situations like low light: the thing which really impresses me with the Sony is the wide range of situations in which it will produce great results.

The IBIS together with the fast primes (I have the 28 f/2, 55 f/1.8, 35 f/1.4) and good noise performance means that I can shoot models in available light situations where the light is gorgeous, but overall illumination levels are very low. These shots were out of the range of my 7D (and probably eight stops outside the range of the Hasselblad!) for me to hand-hold and the model to stay still enough for good results.

It has also become my go-to camera for landscape work, replacing my Panasonic GH4 for everything except time lapse (where the Panasonic's in-built time lapse plus MUCH longer battery life makes it a better choice). The Sony weather sealing seems to be adequate for my purposes at least, the weight is more than the Panasonic kit but the image quality gains make up for it.

The image quality gains over the GH4 are not just in megapixels- the lenses are better, the noise floor is subjectively lower, the dynamic range is better, and the IBIS means I can get away without a tripod a lot more of the time, which makes me happy (and more that counterbalances the lighter weight of the GH4 and lenses).

Electronic first curtain shutter is the other magic ingredient, along with good options for auto ISO. In the field, I leave the Sony on Aperture priority, auto ISO but set so the shutter speed is required to be "normal" (1/focal length). The camera then does a really good job of optimising shutter speed and ISO to give me optimum settings for my chosen aperture. This is much faster and better than any similar system I've used before. The results are that I don't feel the need for a tripod in the mountains nearly as often, and the results aren't just "well it will do if you don't pixel peep", but "can't tell whether I used a tripod or not at 100% zoom".


The Sony's video is on a par with the GH4 for me, which makes it very useful as a "Swiss Army knife" camera in the mountains.

Main issues that bother me with the Sony.

1) The menu system is a mess. It needs a ground up rethink, and misleadingly-labelled items that refer to very specific corner use cases need to be relegated to a "stuff you'll probably never use" menu.

2) There is no good way of over-riding the camera's choice of focus point. The face detection and eye AF are good enough for serious use. I find myself firing off more shots "in case" with the Sony than with the Hasselblad, because it does miss focus on models more often than the focus-and-recompose method I use with the Hasselblad. But in my studio settings it gets it right often enough that I just leave it in face/eye AF and shoot a few more shots in case. More thought needs to be given to focus over-ride ergonomics when there are so many PDAF points to choose from. There ARE ways, but they are cumbersome and impossible for me to do with the camera to my eye.

3) The battery life could be better. I don't have the problem that others seem to with this- one or at most two batteries last me a shooting day. But undeniably I am watching the battery use on the Sony in a way I never had to with other cameras.

4) The lack of built-in timelapse is annoying. You can download a free app for it, but a) that's a pain in the ass to do and b) it doesn't look very comprehensive. So I've not bothered. Allied to the admittedly very limited battery life, I'll stick to the GH4 here. (With two fresh batteries in the GH4 extended grip, it's capable of running a timelapse from dusk 'til dawn).

5) I wish the screen was fully articulated.

6) Panorama mode is surprisingly OK, but the JPEGs seem to suffer either from subtle double images or over-sharpening. This is no issue in print but noticeable at 1:1. A little tune up here would be nice.

7) Lossless compressed RAW would be nice but I don't really care, drives are cheap.

8) I'd like the option to leave peaking on when autofocussing, for confirmation purposes. But shrug, it is great to have this and the auto-magnify thing when manually focussing so I'm just being picky. In fact if there is one general design comment I have it is that too many things on the camera can interact with other settings- it is a bit too frequent to find a menu option greyed out, and have to figure out why. So if the Sony Engineers can disentangle this modality a bit, it would be nice.

9) Skin tones could be better. It's acceptable, but not as nice as Hasselblad or Canon skin tones.

But don't get me wrong. All of those points are mere niggles on what has become my primary image-taking machine. It's a damned impressive camera and produces great images in a wider range of situations than any other camera I've ever owned.

I bought it to replace my Canon 7D for available light situations. I didn't expect it to also be edging out the Hasselblad in the studio and the Panasonic in the mountains.

Cheers, Hywel



« Last Edit: January 21, 2016, 05:16:47 am by Hywel »
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AlterEgo

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Re: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2016, 09:57:13 am »

9) Skin tones could be better. It's acceptable, but not as nice as Hasselblad or Canon skin tones.
and how did you discern camera vs particular software/profile input in that matter, unless you talk about OOC JPG ?
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Hywel

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Re: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2016, 10:04:35 am »

and how did you discern camera vs particular software/profile input in that matter, unless you talk about OOC JPG ?

Only in that when I process through my usual chains - either Apple Aperture or Capture One Pro - I find the skin tones need more work to get them to where I like them than the Canons do either in C1 or Aperture, or the Hasselblad does in Phocus (which I export as Tiffs for final tuning/skin smoothing/etc. in Aperture). Specifically, it doesn't seem to "hold on" to good skin tones in mixed lighting temperature scenarios quite as easily, without more fine tuning.

So it is not necessarily a reflection of the camera per se, just my experience of using it in my own workflow at the present time.

Cheers, Hywel.
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Jim Kasson

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Re: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2016, 10:25:24 am »

I took 2 a7RII's on a trip last fall, and here's what I had to say:

First off, the things the camera is not particularly good for:

    Fast action, such as sports or some kinds of wildlife photography. The native lenses just donít autofocus fast enough, and the frame rate doesnít go high enough.

    Use with very long lenses and nonstatic situations. The manual focusing on the a7RII and its siblings is about as good as it gets for a full frame camera, and in static situations thatís all you need. However, native long lenses are thin on the ground. Iím not a Canon shooter, so I canít use the Canon big iron lenses, but that may be a way around this issue.

    Single shot, nosebleed megapixel landscapes. For that, you should probably buy an 100 megapixel Phase One, and be done with it.

Itís actually a pretty short list. I might think of a few more items, but those are the ones that might make a difference to me. How I deal with that list is by using the Nikon gear for fast action and/or long lenses, and stitching for extremely high resolution landscapes. If I canít stitch, then 42 megapixels is going to have to be enough for me, and I donít feel deprived at this point. My Hasselblad H2D-39 received very little use before I got my hands on the a7RII. It has received no use at all since.

Whatís so great about the a7RII on a trip? I hardly know where to start.

    Electronic first curtain shutter (EFCS). The camera shares this feature with all of the alpha 7 cameras except the a7R, which, it could be argued, before the a7RII came out, needed it the most. It is great to have a high megapixel wonder and not worry about shutter shock. I note that the Nikon D810 also has EFCS, and is quite usable on a tripod once you get used to pressing the shutter release twice. However, because of the way that Nikon implemented it, and more fundamentally, the presence of a flapping mirror on the camera, EFCS is not usable when the camera is handheld, and, although I took a tripod on this trip, I never used it.

In body image stabilization (IBIS). This is a real confidence builder, and let me use ISO 100 in situations where I wouldíve had to switch to 640 or 800 without it.

Autofocus performance. As Iíve mentioned in previous posts, for static subjects, the autofocus accuracy of the a7RII exceeds that of any camera Iíve ever used, not by a small amount. When the lenses are wide-open, itís almost as accurate as manual focusing. When they are stopped down a bit, it is absolutely as accurate, unless the subject contrast is weirdly tricky. I am not used to being able to zoom in to one-to-one in Photoshop and to reliably see pixel-level sharpness, but, since Iíve been using the a7RII, Iím beginning to trust the camera more. I still shoot a few extra shots of a really good subject just in case the first one isnít in critical focus, but so far in my experience with the a7RII, Iíve never had use those shots.

Live histogram and zebras. Having a live histogram makes exposure in fast-moving situations easier, but you do have to take it with a grain of salt. I wish the Sony engineers couldíve provided a three channel live histogram overlayed like the one in Lightroom. Before this trip, Iíd never used the zebras, but after getting caught out by the live histogram in one situation, I I now use them with the level set to 100+%. If youíre not going for the whole ETTR ball of wax, that seems to be a good number. It's a little conservative, but it's as aggressive as the camera allows.

The two speed ISOlessness. Having the increase in conversion gain occurring at ISO 640 is a great thing, allowing almost all photographs to be exposed using the camera set to one of two ISO levels. This simultaneously provides simplicity and high-quality.

The ability to use just about any lens ever made for full frame cameras.

Whatís merely good?

    42 megapixels. How dare I call the full frame camera with the second-highest pixel count merely good? Not because itís not a 50 megapixel Canon. Itís just that 42 megapixels is not much of an improvement over the 36 megapixel standard set by previous generation Sonys and Nikons.

Size and weight. Adding IBIS to the camera caused the a7RII to bulk up a little bit. Itís still a relatively small and light full frame camera, just not as strikingly so as it once was.

Battery life. Some of you are probably surprised that I didnít put this in the negative category. I find the battery life to be entirely adequate, if not up to the standards of pro-level cameras like the D4, or even the D810. During the entire trip, I never had to replace a battery in the field. In fact, although I brought two chargers, I only plugged one of them in, and never had a queue of more than one battery awaiting charging.

The direct exposure bias adjustment dial. Iíve figured out how to incorporate this handy feature into my exposure strategy: http://blog.kasson.com/?p=11768

Whatís ugly?

    The menu system. I devoted a Last Word post to that.

    The automatic EVF/LCD switching. This is been well covered by me and others. When you bend over to have a good look at the LCD screen on the back of the camera, especially if youíre wearing a hat, the screen goes dark. This ďfeatureĒ also keeps the camera from being as useful at waist level as it otherwise might be. There is a great workaround which came from a reader, which gets you the equivalent of the a directly accessed manual two-way (EVF/LCD) toggle on the Leica M240. Set C3, the custom button next to the finder, to ďFinder/Monitor Sel.Ē Then go to ďGear>4>Finder/MonitorĒ and set it to manual. I didnít know about this on the trip, but,  since the EVF on the a7RII is better than the ones on its forbearers, by the end of the trip, I was holding the camera up to my eye whenever I needed to access the menu system outdoors.

No passive LCD panel on top of the camera. This means that you have to go into the menu system for things that would be more simply and directly accessed on Nikon or Canon systems.

Controls too easily moved. The dials, buttons, and wheels all have a light action. Sony could take a lesson in haptics from Nikon and Canon here. Some have complained about the new lock on the mode control. This fixes a problem that I didnít have; one of the few controls on the previous cameras that I didnít inadvertently misadjust was the mode dial.

A few more details, and some pictures, are here: http://blog.kasson.com/?p=11839

Jim
« Last Edit: January 21, 2016, 10:30:55 am by Jim Kasson »
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Hywel

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Re: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2016, 10:42:30 am »

Great summary from Jim, including a couple of niggles I forgot, specifically:


Live histogram and zebras.


The only time I've seen this done RIGHT is on REDs. The RED histogram has separate RGB, plus "goal posts" at either end of the histogram to show how many pixels are piled up in the "danger of noise" and "clipping" zones. The camera has a RAW mode which displays the actual raw histogram (more or less). Most useful of all it has traffic lights to show when each channel starts to clip.

I think ALL modern cameras should have clipping traffic lights and live RGB histograms.



The direct exposure bias adjustment dial.


I use Aperture priority, auto shutter, and either auto ISO or ISO 100/800, plus the bias dial, for everything except flash in the studio.

It's a fluid and good way to work for me, I really like that aspect of the control layout.



    The automatic EVF/LCD switching.


Oh yes, I forgot. That is a pain the arse- it is poorly-implemented. I'd like to see a fully-articulated screen as I said but fixing this would remove an annoyance. it is possible to switch manually but really it just needs the threshold of the sensor tuning up a bit so it works as intended.

Cheers, Hywel
« Last Edit: January 21, 2016, 11:04:29 am by Hywel »
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Jim Kasson

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Re: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2016, 11:08:28 am »

.Oh yes, I forgot. That is a pain the arse- it is poorly-implemented. I'd like to see a fully-articulated screen as I said but fixing this would remove an annoyance. it is possible to switch manually but really it just needs the threshold of the sensor tuning up a bit so it works as intended.

You probably know about this workaround, but some others may not:

http://blog.kasson.com/?p=12108

Doesn't work on earlier a7x cameras. I don't know if it works on the a7SII.

Jim

Hulyss

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Re: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2016, 02:39:01 pm »

I'd be even happier if I had one of these.

AJS 7R



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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2016, 02:45:18 pm »

Hi,

Zebras is just a good example of how ill conceived the Sony menu system is. I really like being able to assign zebras to a customer button. But, there should be an option to toggle zebras on/off.

I would also add that we should be able to set Zebras at clipping limits of the sensor and preferably based on sensor signals and not a white balanced image.

Zebras are extremely disturbing in the viewfinder, so I guess that I would like to see less conservative settings and having a quick on/off facility.

The same goes for peaking.

Best regards
Erik

Great summary from Jim, including a couple of niggles I forgot, specifically:

The only time I've seen this done RIGHT is on REDs. The RED histogram has separate RGB, plus "goal posts" at either end of the histogram to show how many pixels are piled up in the "danger of noise" and "clipping" zones. The camera has a RAW mode which displays the actual raw histogram (more or less). Most useful of all it has traffic lights to show when each channel starts to clip.

I think ALL modern cameras should have clipping traffic lights and live RGB histograms.


I use Aperture priority, auto shutter, and either auto ISO or ISO 100/800, plus the bias dial, for everything except flash in the studio.

It's a fluid and good way to work for me, I really like that aspect of the control layout.


Oh yes, I forgot. That is a pain the arse- it is poorly-implemented. I'd like to see a fully-articulated screen as I said but fixing this would remove an annoyance. it is possible to switch manually but really it just needs the threshold of the sensor tuning up a bit so it works as intended.

Cheers, Hywel
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Tony Jay

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Re: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2016, 04:45:08 pm »

As a very happy owner of a Sony A7R II, and someone who has used it for several different genres I can say that I broadly concur with the the various pros and cons already noted.

Although this camera currently is not particularly suited to wildlife/sports/action photography one reason yet to be highlighted (although perhaps I have missed the post that mentioned it) is buffer capacity. I used this camera in Africa recently for wildlife (along with a Canon 5D Mark III) and found that even when one could circumnavigate the AF issues with super telephoto lenses and the quirks of the EVF that the buffer became a prime limiting factor. Obviously, the file size is a limitation but only being able to shoot < 10 images in quick succession is a problem to a wildlife shooter.

I use a Metabones adaptor for my Canon lenses and by-and-large it works really well. In fact Metabones are putting out firmware upgrades almost too regularly to keep up with and performance is improving all the time. However, even using the new Canon 100-400mm there is still no consistent autofocus at the high end and it slows considerably above focal lengths of 300mm. At shorter focal lengths I cannot really see a difference in AF performance between Metabones adapted lenses and native Sony FE mount lenses.

My guess is that Sony will look to improve the functionality of the EVF, AF with super telephoto lenses, and the size of the buffer to allow the A7R line to become more competitive as a camera for sports and wildlife.
I also think that should the pace of improvement of the Metabones adaptors continue then that will really contribute to the A7R line becoming even more of a ubiquitous camera.

Tony Jay
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Phil Indeblanc

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Re: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2016, 01:26:19 pm »

Just watched Vadim from Epicmind Studio do a review of it on YouTube....Up against the IQ160.
Its enough for me to certainly get the Sony instead of a Hass CFV50c I've been waiting on for $7-$8K....
Although I'll need the savings for body adapter and lens :-)  But I can take it out in a much more compact way.
So yes, its still costing about 7K for my needs, but more versatile uses.

Sorry Ronald, not a first hand feedback :-) but that YouTube vid is.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2016, 01:30:09 pm by Phil Indeblanc »
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Zorki5

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Re: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2016, 01:44:59 pm »

Whatís ugly?

    The menu system. I devoted a Last Word post to that.

Quote from that post:

Quote
Format no longer has this pride of place. Itís been replaced. And by what? What could be more often used than Format? The top item of the Suitcase 5 menu page on the a7RII is Copyright Info

I think we know whom to thank for that marvelous feat of UI design... Another quote comes to mind:

Quote
The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy defines the marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as "a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes," with a footnote to the effect that the editors would welcome applications from anyone interested in taking over the post of robotics correspondent.

Curiously enough, an edition of the Encyclopaedia Galactica that had the good fortune to fall through a time warp from a thousand years in the future defined the marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as "a bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the revolution came."
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2016, 02:03:15 pm »

Hi,

I am a tripod shooter, so I don't really feel that buffer size have been a limitation for me. But, I do understand that choosing uncompressed raw can cause a significant limitation.

I had the opportunity to try my A7rII with a canon 100-400 zoom (latest version) in September. AF worked up to 200 mm. Personally I have a Sony 70-400/4-5.6G lens, that autofocuses just fine over the full range. But, autofocus is slower than on native FE-lenses.

Best regards
Erik




As a very happy owner of a Sony A7R II, and someone who has used it for several different genres I can say that I broadly concur with the the various pros and cons already noted.

Although this camera currently is not particularly suited to wildlife/sports/action photography one reason yet to be highlighted (although perhaps I have missed the post that mentioned it) is buffer capacity. I used this camera in Africa recently for wildlife (along with a Canon 5D Mark III) and found that even when one could circumnavigate the AF issues with super telephoto lenses and the quirks of the EVF that the buffer became a prime limiting factor. Obviously, the file size is a limitation but only being able to shoot < 10 images in quick succession is a problem to a wildlife shooter.

I use a Metabones adaptor for my Canon lenses and by-and-large it works really well. In fact Metabones are putting out firmware upgrades almost too regularly to keep up with and performance is improving all the time. However, even using the new Canon 100-400mm there is still no consistent autofocus at the high end and it slows considerably above focal lengths of 300mm. At shorter focal lengths I cannot really see a difference in AF performance between Metabones adapted lenses and native Sony FE mount lenses.

My guess is that Sony will look to improve the functionality of the EVF, AF with super telephoto lenses, and the size of the buffer to allow the A7R line to become more competitive as a camera for sports and wildlife.
I also think that should the pace of improvement of the Metabones adaptors continue then that will really contribute to the A7R line becoming even more of a ubiquitous camera.

Tony Jay
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Tony Jay

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Re: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2016, 04:25:41 pm »

I also shoot from a tripod Eric, and in that context, truly great results are possible.
On a tripod the A7R mark II is truly in its element!

Tony Jay
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Jim Kasson

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Re: Sony A7r2 - Are you happy?
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2016, 04:50:36 pm »

I also shoot from a tripod Eric, and in that context, truly great results are possible.
On a tripod the A7R mark II is truly in its element!

I agree, and it's the combination of the articulated LCD, the workaround to keep the LCD from shutting itself off when you bend over to look at it wearing a hat, focus peaking combined with magnification anywhere, and EFCS. The new 5-second self-timer delay is nice, too, but I prefer a wired release.

Jim
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