I ended up returning the camera. The image was great, the lowlight performance was great, the in-camera stabilization was great, and so were the rest of the features. But the camera has one huge flaw that is a deal breaker for me, it overheats.
I am a narrative filmmaker but right now, I make a living via corporate videos for Fortune 500 companies. These types of videos usually consist of 25 minute to 2 hour interviews plus b-roll. The Sony Alpha A7RII has a major overheating issue if you film at 4K for more than 15 minutes.
The camera will become unusable, it will shut down, and it will delete whatever file you were recording when it shutdown. It takes about a half hour for it to cool down and turn back on. I did some pretty extensive testing of this right when I received the camera. I was hoping that shooting in bursts of 3-5 minutes instead of 15 straight would help but it only last about an extra 10 minutes.
I tested it in an air conditioned room and it last the full 30 minute clip limit but by the end of the recording, the camera was hot to touch and usually when filming interviews, the room can get a little warmer due to the hot lights. I tested it outside in the shade and it lasted about 12 minutes, and I tested it outside in the sun.
- Sony Alpha A7R II – Incredible Landscape Camera
- Sony A7 III Digital Camera – Amazing Full Frame Camera
- Sony Alpha A7S II Mirrorless Digital Camera
I couldn’t have walked away from the camera for more than 5 minutes but when I returned, it had already shutdown. This camera has a great set of features that all work extremely well but the overheating issue trumps them all. Unless you are in a temperature controlled room or you give the camera breaks based on how hot the area your filming in is (which may be a huge amount if you’re filming outside on a mildly hot day), this camera really isn’t for videographers. If this overheating issue were to happen in front of a client, it would be catastrophic.
Note for photography: Autofocus with Canon lenses is ok. Definitely not great or even good. I’ve heard a lot of people say it’s just as fast as Canon cameras. Sometimes it is close, but rarely. It’s extremely inconsistent. It can’t focus in dark areas at all. In my bedroom with the light on, it couldn’t find focus, even on high contrast subjects.
Also, it has to be near in focus to actually be able to grab focus. If the subject is completely out of focus, the camera will either search back and forth, passing the subject, and never find focus or it will get near focus and start searching back the other way without ever even passing the actual focus point.
Definitely a step up considering you couldn’t do it at all before but not even close to good enough to use on professional shoots.
One year and I still in love
After one year now using it and I love my camera. So much resolution to try around different compositions. Many custom keys. Sony lenses are expensive but they’re worth it.
Cons: long buffer, timelapse app is very slow (better to buy an intervalometer), only one sd card slot, low battery power, star eater issue (check Ian Norman’s review of this problem). Many of these problems are solved with the A7RIII.
Even though Sony has a new model, I’m still very happy with my A7RII. If I have the money sure I will upgrade it.
First Mirror less camera
Was torn over whether or not to go mirror less. As an SLR guy forever and separate video camera believer, I have been pleased.
The smaller size is a great plus. The video viewfinder is better than my own vision, so as I have a preference for a viewfinder, this was great, and it detects whether or not you have your eye to it, viewfinder turns on, or if you hold the camera up, the LCD screen comes up.
As with most cameras, this has way too many features to understand, but does well with auto, and with a little trial and error, the manual setting with 2 roller knobs for aperture and shutter speed give you good, simple options.
Video does well although I have not explored it fully. Shot in 4K but have not figured out yet how to download video off the camera to my computer.
Overall, I have been well pleased and know there is much more capability that I will continue to learn about as I use it more.
I jumped from owning a Canon 60D to this and what a difference. I was afraid from reading about the older Sony cameras that it wouldn’t focus quickly but after using it in various lighting conditions, this is not an issue.
I would say that the only con I have with this camera is that there isn’t an option to auto preview your photos on the monitor screen when using the finder screen to take pictures.
Sayonara, Canon and Nikon. Hello, Sony a7-Series!
Though I’ve been a long-time Canon fan and photography enthusiast, I have been readying up on Sony’s a7 and a9-series cameras and all of the rave reviews they’ve been receiving. When the a7RII went on sale during B&H’s Black Friday sale, I decided to bite the bullet and ordered on, along with the 50mm prime lens and the 24-300mm lens.
I can sum up my reaction in 3 simple letters: W-O-W! I love the compactness and build quality of the mirrorless camera body, its amazing light sensitivity, and the built-in 5-axis image stabilization. Though this camera has been on the market for 2 years now, it seems light years ahead of what I had been using from the aforementioned DSLR competitors. Sony really did their homework when putting this amazing device together.
And it does 4K video and has 42MP resolution! Every time I pick up this camera it brings a smile to my face. Never have I found such great results in using a camera, or had one of my hobbies been so much fun. So, sayonara, Canon and Nikon. I’m with Sony now and won’t be going back!