Jump to content

Sony A7R II Review - Part 1 - Summoning the devil


Andrew Reid
 Share

Recommended Posts

So no one ever got a Canon body to overheat? I used a Canon 7D for filming very short clips with quite some idle time in between and was getting the overheat icon. It didn't shutdown, but the clips were less than 10 seconds in length.

Beck to what really matters - wouldn't it be pretty easy for a 3rd party manufacturer to create a sort of a battery grip from which copper heatsinks would extend the LCD and that would be connected to some sort of a cooing solution (a fan, if nothing better is doable) in the battery grip.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

if one is a professional, one will either shoot with F7s, F55. --  or simply use a recorder for longer shoots. Please do not make the problem bigger then it is

No they will use a Panasonic, a Canon, a JVC, a Samsung, or even another Sony, a camera at the same range but doesn't unexpectedly stop due to over heating. It's not normal for camera cheaper than FS7s/F55s to not reliably record video. That's an extreme excuse, being cheaper than an F55. 

 

So no one ever got a Canon body to overheat? 

We've been shooting thousands of hours on 550Ds, 60Ds, 70Ds, 5Ds, for 5+ years, recording 5-6 hours a day straight for months consequtively and never seen an overheating warning, certainly nothing ever happened to make us stop recording and cool the camera down. 

My GH4 is behaving the same way, even Sony's own A7s I shot on for hours a few weeks daily under 51 degree celsius never gave up on me. This is not normal when most of the owner from day one are getting overheating stopping and can't record video continuously. A whole lot different from having tens of people having overheating situations among of hunderds of thousands of shooters who never had an overheating issue shooting features, commercials, docs, for years and years. 

However, the 7D model (the original 7D) was the only camera from Canon DSLRs that tended to give overheating warnings to a number of people over the boards, it generated a worry over the web at the time of announcing (it was the first s35 video camera, after the 5D so was quite important in the history of video), but them the worries were put to rest after using it a while, it's a brick. I shot a lot on 7D and it certainly was no different than a 5D or 550D, doesn't stop recording in 20-30 mins or even hours on a job. It did give warnings to some people though unlike and more than all other Canon DSLRs. 

 

Let's see more tests. However from what I am seeing from virtually all testers, the camera cannot be used to record video for longer than 30 mins reliably and is hit and miss, making things even worse (it would be better if it had a constant reliable recording time of say 15 minutes than being un-predictable) 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

dear andrew

we're very much interested in your a7r2 guide, picture profile and luts. 

unfortunately we're used to work with wide dr (or even a tweaked version (https://vimeo.com/77931546) of it called wide pf). 

in our experience this easy to grade profile but flat in the highlights profile serves us very well on our c100 - also during filming. 

would you know if there is anybody looking for something similar for the a7r2? would you be interested to look into this? any suggestions/tipps? 

thanks for any support, roman

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So far, it sounds like it's going to be fine for the video hobbyist, like me, but problematic for professionals doing long shoots.

When it comes to still shots, the same is true.  Bulb mode drops to 12-bit and activates spatial filtering.  Orange peel noise, lossy RAW which stinks with high-contrast exposure pushes, etc.  Blah. 

It still ends up as the best FF all-arounder, but with some significant limitations that everyone just needs to be aware of.

In your opinion it's the best FF all-arounder.  I'll take my 1dc that shoots 4k for over an hour without interruption (with 256GB CF cards) that is easily 100 times better sports shooter as the best all-arounder.  For short takes / travel / landscape shooting it's probably the best.  For shooting anything that moves I'll choose the "dinosaur" Canon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for buying the book Doug.

The focus magnifier seems to differ between stills and movie mode, also the magnification factor in stills mode is different depending on if APS-C mode is enabled or full frame.

So it is 4x only in movie mode but if you read the bit about stills mode and switch to 16:9 you get a few benefits including the cleaner 12x magnification on the 2nd press.

Agree that the A7R II is such a good all-rounder.

Thanks Andrew for the info - it's really crazy, the camera has so many great and logical aspects, but Sony still finds a way to make things complicated.  This limitation means i can either have a proper magnification mode for video and can only shoot 36MP photos, or i have a limited magnification and can shoot the full 42MP photos.  Or i have the best photo resolution and the best magnification, but can't frame right before recording a video!    To make things more difficult, Sony wants us to buy several functions like the timelapse mode from their playmemories store which right now offers ca. 30 apps that could be installed on the camera.  I would understand that for special applications, but not basics like a timelapse in a 3500 euro camera.  At least among these 30 apps there are ca. 5-10 usefull tools that the competitor brands don't have, and some are free as well.  It's just pain in the ass to install and manage.

All in all the A7R2 feels as if i suddenly have the power of a second 1DC, GH4 and D800/5DsR available.  Just if i could choose, for each specialized purpose i would still prefer to use the Canon, Pansonic or Nikon cameras.  In cases where i only can bring one camera or i need the special strength of for example a second 1DC, the A7R2 now is a great choice.  For each user who only has a 5D3, D800 etc, the camera also is a new great alternative.  

In general the camera doesnt offer better 4k video or phot images than the 2012 technology of a D800 or 1DC.  It's a bit sad, because aside from a stop more in highlights, even the new Red Weapon doesnt seem to offer a different image compared to the 2011 Red Epic MX.  Aside from 1-2 stops more in dynamic range, the C300 II probably also doesnt deliver a better image than the 1DC.  This means that until the year 2018 we can be stuck with the same image quality options that we had 6 years ago.  At some point technology does come to an end, which is seen in the audio world, where certain speaker / microphone standards have not been topped since 20-40 years. 

Sony has a really nice 50 megapixel sensor that's above what's in the A7R2 and right now built in the Pentax 645z and a Hasselblad and a Phase One.  Unfortunately that only works with medium format and will have sensor cooling issues as well.  Above that Phase One offers an 80 megapixel sensor, which is only usable until ISO 400(!).  I guess the next 2-3 years will be about making existing technologies cheaper, products smaller, and combining more features.  But the image quality has reached a certain limit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For those that own or have used the camera, does it feel like it could potentially cannibalize the sales of the A7s? Obviously, the A7s is better in terms of low light performance, but that's probably about it, right?

Well if you want to record long takes or for prolonged periods then A7s is your only choice. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Andrew really great review to kick things off with the new camera that we are all super excited for. I lived through the 7D dark days when using a Sandisk Ultra card would actually kill clips. So I can't stomach a camera that out of the gate over heats and shuts off. I don't care if you are a hobbiest or a pro handicapping the main event feature is absolutely ridiculous. Sony should have waited and made it work to the level of true stability. 

I assume it's not software but I will ask anyway .... has anyone shot 10-12min clips in a row getting the same result as shooting the full 29min. Heat is heat so I'm sure it's overheating either way you slice up your shooting. 

Im so wanting to love this camera but I may just go back to the 1DC and sadly wait for canon to throw a 5D Clog  4K bone out someday.  I prefer the dslr form factor so it's bittersweet.

 

if one is a professional, one will either shoot with F7s, F55. --  or simply use a recorder for longer shoots. Please do not make the problem bigger then it is.

I have it, love it, with one lense you cover 28-200, via crop mode.

ha! That's such a ego loaded comment it makes me hope you really just work for Sony and are attempting to make light of a ridiculous situation of a camera that shuts off after 29minutes. I mean if your really a pro where is your Arri ....who would even touch a FS7. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No they will use a Panasonic, a Canon, a JVC, a Samsung, or even another Sony, a camera at the same range but doesn't unexpectedly stop due to over heating. It's not normal for camera cheaper than FS7s/F55s to not reliably record video. That's an extreme excuse, being cheaper than an F55. 

 

We've been shooting thousands of hours on 550Ds, 60Ds, 70Ds, 5Ds, for 5+ years, recording 5-6 hours a day straight for months consequtively and never seen an overheating warning, certainly nothing ever happened to make us stop recording and cool the camera down. 

My GH4 is behaving the same way, even Sony's own A7s I shot on for hours a few weeks daily under 51 degree celsius never gave up on me. This is not normal when most of the owner from day one are getting overheating stopping and can't record video continuously. A whole lot different from having tens of people having overheating situations among of hunderds of thousands of shooters who never had an overheating issue shooting features, commercials, docs, for years and years. 

However, the 7D model (the original 7D) was the only camera from Canon DSLRs that tended to give overheating warnings to a number of people over the boards, it generated a worry over the web at the time of announcing (it was the first s35 video camera, after the 5D so was quite important in the history of video), but them the worries were put to rest after using it a while, it's a brick. I shot a lot on 7D and it certainly was no different than a 5D or 550D, doesn't stop recording in 20-30 mins or even hours on a job. It did give warnings to some people though unlike and more than all other Canon DSLRs. 

 

Let's see more tests. However from what I am seeing from virtually all testers, the camera cannot be used to record video for longer than 30 mins reliably and is hit and miss, making things even worse (it would be better if it had a constant reliable recording time of say 15 minutes than being un-predictable) 

For sure its not good news, some reports it also overheat over hdmi. I have both camras, so will try to test out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Andrew for the info - it's really crazy, the camera has so many great and logical aspects, but Sony still finds a way to make things complicated.  This limitation means i can either have a proper magnification mode for video and can only shoot 36MP photos, or i have a limited magnification and can shoot the full 42MP photos.  Or i have the best photo resolution and the best magnification, but can't frame right before recording a video!    To make things more difficult, Sony wants us to buy several functions like the timelapse mode from their playmemories store which right now offers ca. 30 apps that could be installed on the camera.  I would understand that for special applications, but not basics like a timelapse in a 3500 euro camera. 

When I had the a7s I paid for the timelapse app - want to hear something even sillier?  The silent shutter mode is *unavailable* for this app!  I ended up have to get a Sony plug for my intervalometer.  Sigh.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

We've been shooting thousands of hours on 550Ds, 60Ds, 70Ds, 5Ds, for 5+ years, recording 5-6 hours a day straight for months consequtively and never seen an overheating warning, certainly nothing ever happened to make us stop recording and cool the camera down. 

These are all 1080p (but not really 1080p) cameras. You can shoot the A7rII in 1080p with no issues. My 5d2 used to overheat. None of those are shooting 4k. None of the above or the GH4 can come close to the stills IQ of the A7RII - hell the A7RII 18mp crop mode outclasses everything m43 and Canon outside of the 50mp bodies because Canon's sensor DR is a couple generations behind Sony.

I just did another run test with 4k, FF, 60mbps and back-to-back 29+ min takes - no issues but the camera is hot. The battery died at 29:40 of the second take. Not bad - 59+ minutes of recording with the LCD on the whole time. IIRC, I couldn't get an hour of recording with the 5d3 because live view really ate the battery. The overheat warning cam on during the third take after the battery swap, it shut down just before the 10 min, so just about 70 minutes with 4k at the lower bitrate. I let it rest for 3 minutes and recorded another 29+ min take. Then I went to 1080/60p and hit the max with no temp warning and the battery was at 3%. I have no more charged batteries. It won't work for everyone, but its fine for my needs.

My only U3 card has lots I don't want to delete just yet, so I had to use a U1 and you can't record the max bitrate unless the card is U3. The bottom of the camera does get noticably warmer than the rest of the body. Crop mode seems to generate more heat. The battery gets hot too. I'm ordering an external battery to try USB power or with a dummy battery in the camera, and a generic grip to see if it makes a difference. I haven't shot anything with the IBIS off either.

 

For me the overheating is a non-issue so far, my stuff is ENG style event coverage - so lots of short takes. I shut the camera off frequently to preserve the battery and that helps. The A7RII is much quicker to startup than any other Sony camera I've used, so my shooting got a little more efficient with the new cam. For paid work it serves my needs. If you need to record 4k for hours on end this isn't the camera for you. The RX10mkII seems like a better option.

In the end it looks like a big sensor and all the processing means lots of heat. 

Cheers.

p.s. The slow AF setting in movie mode work really well, no more camcorder style AF, very similar to what the NX1 does with a slow focus pull.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good honest review Andrew - thanks.  looking forward to part 2.  Interested to know if the heat issue could be mitigated by swapping batteries or using an external power source.  

I would wonder if keeping the rear LCD flipped out helps.  It should help make the back effectively thinner so it's easier for the heat to get out.  Of course that makes it hard (impossible?) to use the viewfinder.  At least you can do it to help speed cooling the thing down when not using it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would wonder if keeping the rear LCD flipped out helps.  It should help make the back effectively thinner so it's easier for the heat to get out.  Of course that makes it hard (impossible?) to use the viewfinder.  At least you can do it to help speed cooling the thing down when not using it.

i Do that on my nex when i record for along time on a tripod. Set the camera up how i want it then flip out the screen and turn down brightness all the way

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...