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Sony A7 series - help me choose


Tim Sewell

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Since getting my FS5 mk1 I've decided to go Sony for my stills/occasional video use (currently using an Olympus EM-1 mkii, which I'm selling to finance this). I don't want to buy anything new and as my requirements for this are more on the stills side than video I'm happy to go for an earlier model. Within my budget are the following:

  • A7
  • A7ii
  • A7R
  • A7Rii
  • A7S

Which one would the EOSHD hive mind recommend for the use cases above?

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8 minutes ago, Tim Sewell said:

Out of budget. I am leaning towards A7Rii, but my knowledge of these cameras is limited, hence the question.

Thanks!

You're always welcome, I fully understand you : ) Have you tried to find it in every corner? Unexpected deals happen at times ; ) It's worthy especially for its video side, if so.

Other than that, as above-mentioned, a7RII is a safe bet, that's a hell of a camera still today :- )

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If you are determined to get one of the FULL FRAME cameras you listed in your first post, then the only real viable option is the a7R II, since it will have significantly better autofocus than the other cameras you listed and at least has internal 4K. However, the full frame 4K is pixel binned, so you will need to shoot in super 35 mode anyway for the best 4K image. 

You most likely will want to shoot in 4K, so the older a7 and a7 II cameras (that only shoot in 1080p) would probably best be avoided. (Sony 1080p is generally pretty bad with lots of aliasing and moire, unless you get an a7 S, which only has 12MP for stills).

However...

Since FS5 is aps-c (super 35), and since it seems like you are on a tight budget, it probably makes more sense to get a sony aps-c camera so you can share lenses between them (instead of having aps-c glass for the fs5 and full frame glass for the a7 camera).

I would suggest looking at a used a6500 or a6600 if you want IBIS, or something like an a6400 / a6600 for HLG profile (the a6500 doesn't have HLG, but has 8-bit slog 2 and slog 3).

4K on Sony cameras is nice and detailed, although the issues are overheating (more so on the a6300 / a6500) and a dim screen, and again, only 8-bit for SLOG.

 

 

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Thanks for the thoughts Mark. I understand what you're saying and the thought of staying APS-C had struck me. I decided not to for two reasons - one is that for anything more considered than a family video I tend to use my Super Takumar set, so I've no shortage of FF lenses that I'd love to use for stills (they just don't do it for me for stills on the Olympus's M43, even boosted). I've also got a lovely Tokina 24-70 2.6 (the Angenieux one) that I don't use as much as I'd like on the FS5 as it's not wide enough at one end and unstabilised at the other! I think the lens would be lovely on a FF sensor.

The other reason is that I just don't like the form factor on those 6### series cameras.

So I'm putting you down as vote number 2 for the A7RII!

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37 minutes ago, Tim Sewell said:

So I'm putting you down as vote number 2 for the A7RII!

I've got an A7Rii so make that 3.

Hard to see anything better value at the price if you are already invested in E-mount, particularly if stills are the primary use.

If you are using manual focus lenses with it, I'd definitely recommend looking at getting the TechArt PRO adapter as it will give you pretty good AF capability for them.

Its designed for M mount lenses but can be used with pretty much anything by stacking a "whatever your lens is to m mount" adapter on top.

It comes into its own with small M mount lenses like Voigtlanders as its like having an autofocus high res Leica M with an EVF and its overall size isn't that much bigger either.

Battery life isn't great of course but they're small enough (and cheap enough) to not be worried about carrying a few spares.

 

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Thanks for the tip on batteries - I was wondering about that. I've got 2 E-EF adapters - a Commlite and the locking Metabones one, so I'm hoping I'll get AF when I want it. For the Super Taks I've obviously also got a E-M42 dumb adapter. Sadly I sold my M lenses quite a while ago after a brief dalliance with an M4-P.

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I've owned the a7sii, a7iii (twice), a6500, a7riii, and now the a7siii. The a7siii is by far my favorite tool. It addresses many of my issues (including recording limit/battery). The a6500 is a nifty camera also, especially if you add the cage. The a7sii was great for lowlight, but my perspective was skewed with the color since I had owned the a7iii first. However, if you can pick one up for under a grand, pick up a battery grip (with two batteries), and install the memorytweak app (which allows you to record pass 30 mins), you can't go wrong. It would match the color of the FS5 much more nicely. However, the a7riii covers u with the battery, dual slots, decent video too (1,600 or so)! The a7iii will definitely allow u to have most things for under $1,500 used. It's my rec if you're on a budget. An extra couple hundred from the a7rii, but you won't have the temptation to replace it anytime soon!

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17 minutes ago, Tim Sewell said:

For the Super Taks I've obviously also got a E-M42 dumb adapter. Sadly I sold my M lenses quite a while ago after a brief dalliance with an M4-P.

If you went for the TechArt then a cheap M42-M adapter stuck on it will give you autofocus capability for them.

It works far better (in stills at least which is what you say is your primary use for it) than I'd imagined when I bought it.

 

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If you browse the FM forums you can normally find a used A7iii for $1300 and under. I've even seen $1150-ish with low shutter counts.

While I love my Rii the 7iii is the better buy. The battery life alone is well worth it. Unless you need the extra MP having a smaller file size sure is nice on the hard drives. 

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17 hours ago, TheRealOG said:

The A7iii will be a fantastic investment. The 4k image is fantastic, the battery life is even better, has dual card slots, fantastic AF, enough megapickles for photos, and you can use the EOSHD color profile!

oh yes, without mention EOSHD color tools...

WTH of a community we have here Andrew, Tim fully deserves it, but where else users find such level of involvement just for the sake of help and share the mirrorless universe?

@BTM_Pix you da man :- )

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I don't know if there are offers on the A7iii in the UK but here in Spain I just bought an A7iii with the 50 1.8 for 2100€ (more or less). There is a 400€ cash back offer until 31 January. So once I discount my VAT (I'm a freelancer) and get the cash back the camera and lens como in about 1300€

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Thanks for the advice guys. I found a nice condition A7R2 with 4 batteries for a good price on eBay this afternoon so I've bought it. It will be nice to look through some lenses with the FOV they used to give back in the day! Apparently the S35 4K is pretty good, so my go-to EF-S 17-55 will possibly get some use if I ever use it for video not on a gimbal or a jib.

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11 minutes ago, Tim Sewell said:

Thanks for the advice guys. I found a nice condition A7R2 with 4 batteries for a good price on eBay this afternoon so I've bought it. 

The right choice for you I think.      I might have to see if I can find one myself soonish.

 

That said there is nothing wrong with a 12mp camera for stills unless you are shooting for very large prints or framing very loosely.

The original A7s is a wonderful photo camera and especially for low light stills and HD video but it is OTHER things that make it a less sensible choice for many people....CDAF only, forget about AFC unless the movement is slow and not far, adapted Canon lenses AF very slowly, primitive eye AF ETC.

If you mainly use manual focus lenses though many of the issues go away.      

I had the original 24mp A7 as well and while I liked it, I prefer the A7s MUCH more for BOTH photos and video

 

DSC08882.jpg

DSC08195.jpg

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6 hours ago, noone said:

That said there is nothing wrong with a 12mp camera for stills unless you are shooting for very large prints or framing very loosely.

It's kind of funny, isn't it??? I mean, if you were a Wedding shooter, the 12MP Nikon D700 was THE Wedding Photography camera for several years, and a D300 12MP aps-c crop sensor camera would be a back up cam. 

Personally 24MP is kind of the sweet spot since it allows me to crop in when I need to. Since I shoot 90% buildings, I can step back a bit to avoid keystoning and then zoom in post.

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3 hours ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

It's kind of funny, isn't it??? I mean, if you were a Wedding shooter, the 12MP Nikon D700 was THE Wedding Photography camera for several years,

Indeed. 

But in 2021, apparently you can’t with the Sony A7SIII because people might want to put the pics on social media and is 12mp enough?

My smart phone has a 60”x30” triple retina 16k screen so I suspect maybe not?

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