Dec 172014

After the JLPT in DC, I ordered the new Sony A7 Mark II body, and it showed up a few days later.

If you’re expecting stats, then move on. This is more of an impressions report than anything else. What I liked, what I didn’t.

My initial thoughts? Tinged with confusion because the manual wasn’t so hot. I wound up calling Sony because I wasn’t sure why some functions wouldn’t work with my manual focus lenses. Part of it was on me, but part of it was a slightly confusing message that kept popping up.

Once I got that sorted out, I fell in love with it.

The menu UI isn’t perfect, but the shooting experience with it is great.

The viewfinder fooled me a few times into thinking I was looking directly through glass. It’s really sharp. Better than the rear LCD panel.

The customizable C1-C4 buttons on the body make it a manual focus shooter’s dream. I assigned the focus magnifier to C2, so I just have to press it once or twice, and I can get nice sharp focus. Then I assigned the image stabilizer to C1, so I can set the focal length of my MF lenses with a button press, a dial turn, and another button press. That’s about as fast as you can make it. I put ISO on C3, so I can tear through my ISO settings, depending on what I want to shoot.

There’s a ton of customization in the menus. It’ll take a little while for me to tweak it just the way I want it, but there’s a lot I can either tweak or ignore.

The camera feels great in my hands, and shoots great. Is it loud? Who cares? Honestly, I don’t get the obsession over shutter noise on the A7 cameras. I guess it goes make a certain amount of noise, but not enough for me to care. I’m more into getting good shots. It does that!

The image stabilization is great. It feels like I get 2-3 more stops of hand-holding out of the camera. There’s a noticeable difference when it’s turned off.

It also has a well-thought out auto-bracketing mode, that I set on 3 shots 1 stop apart, and just left it there.

The NFC is useful if your phone does NFC, I guess. You need to download an app and you can control the camera with your phone. It’s kind of hit-and-miss. There’s a whole Sony app store for the camera. It’s kind of cool, but it’s also sigh-inducing, too. (Another user ID and password, and something else to manage? Ugh.)

What’s most important to me is that I can take the pictures I want without thinking about the camera. I think about the photo, and that’s about it. In that regard, this camera is great.

My only gripe is a lack of native full-frame E mount lenses that are affordable. There aren’t many full-frame lenses on offer, and the ones that are AF are all pretty expensive. I already have some Leica M glass from 10+ years ago, so I’m covered, but it would be nice to have one native full-frame AF lens. Gotta start saving on the side for that, I guess.

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