I recently got a chance to field test the new Sony A7R ll camera and it might be the best camera I’ve ever used.
I don’t say this lightly either, we here at Spongecoach have always preached that you don’t always need an expensive camera to get the job done, sometimes the camera in your phone is all you need. But the Sony A7R ll shows us what’s possible when you go all out.
The A7R II camera is rocking an impressive high resolution 42 Mega Pixels, with a 5-axis in-body image stabilization that compensates for blur caused by camera shake that provides a pixel perfect image every time you hit the shutter button.
With the 42MP you can expect your image sizes to be massive! The average dimensions for the picture I shot with it averaged around 7952×5304 which ended up giving me a RAW format size of around 60-80MB.
With that large mega pixel size also comes 4k video recording. Sony went out of their way with the A7R II to produce the world’s first camera to offer 4K movie recording to an internal media with the full-frame format. Meaning you can record your shot and instantly pop the SD card into the computer ready to go with your full 4k resolution, which makes for a movie makers dream.
It records at a high bit rate of 100 Mbps during 4K recording and a full 50 Mbps during a regular HD shooting which can shoot at 120fps, although I could never see shooting at that high of a frame rate, but it could be useful if you plan to shoot a slo-mo scene.
The A7R II also has a Super 35mm mode, which enables the camera to collect a wealth of information from approximately 1.8x as many pixels as 4K by using full pixel readout without pixel binning. It also oversamples the information to produce 4K movies with minimal moire and ‘jaggies’, so no more having to worry about line-skipping.
It sports a full HD (1920x1080p) 3″ LCD screen with the ability to tilt up & down for high & low-angle framing, perfect for shooting subject close to the ground or if you’re at a sporting event and need to shoot over crowds. I often found myself using the screen more often than the view finder. The reason being is the camera’s auto focus is so fast that it’s ready to go before you are almost. So by the time I had composed my shot & subjects the camera was ready to take the pic which ending up saving me more time.
There’s also a downfall to the camera’s autofocus system…. it’s liable to change on the fly, not always focusing on your intended subject. So for those who shoot sports in rapid fires will have to double check their focus before hitting the shutter, but it is capable of getting you sharp results in even the most challenging of conditions.
It sports all the standard features that you’re use to on a high-end camera while fitting them all into a compact design a little bigger than your average point and shoot camera. The build itself is light with a rigid magnesium alloy design, but because of the compact design once you throw a lens on there it tends to feel very front heavy, but if dropped I would expect it to take it like a champ, just beware of scratches.
So with the basics out of the way, I wanted to put it to a real world test. I had chosen to take it out on a team shoot for an upcoming cross-promotion between the local hockey team and college rodeo team. The situation was at night, with small stadium lights, at the rodeo grounds, and with live animals. Perfect conditions to put the camera to the test.
My usual concerns when shooting in this type of condition is lighting. If you have poor lighting than the pictures tend to turn out fuzzy or your subjects aren’t well enough exposed (duh). Typically in these conditions you would turn the ISO up and hope that’s there not a lot of digital noise which could ruin the photo.
So how would it do? Well before I show you the results I wanted to add a wild card to mix. What’s the wild card, you ask? Camera was set to auto everything…. Like it had just come out of the box, set to auto. Why do this you ask? Because I wanted to see what the camera could do on it’s own! Is it a camera only pros could use? Or is it a camera every man can use?
A7R II Field Test
Let’s take a look:
Crystal clear, baby! Camera handle it like a champ! Only problem I had during this particular shot is that the camera had a tendency to want to auto focus on the horse instead of the player, easy fix.
Bring on the next one:
Piece of cake! The one complaint I do have is with the shadows the hats caused across their faces but to be honest that was my mistake not the camera’s.
The picture quality is just crystal clear and keep in mind that those pictures above are compressed. You never really know how well your pictures are gonna turn out until you get back home and on the computer hence why you gotta make sure to take multiples but what you see with the naked eye is basically what you get with the camera.
The levels of detail that you get in every frame is just impressive. Which makes it perfect for landscape photography or portrait shots.
Bottom line, would I recommend this camera for a sports team?
Yes, I would. If you’re looking for a high-end camera that can tackle every task you throw at it from still shots to full 4k video recording that will up your marketing game for a long time to come, then I highly recommend this camera.
Pick yours up today: Sony a7R II Full-Frame Camera