So, the time has finally come to New Zealand for Sony's brand new A7Rii. I was on preorder for one of these units. I never expected to get the first batch but I got it on the day it arrived. And today, I finally got to unbox it.
And unboxing done. From the box, these are the only things I need. All the rest, along with the receipt, goes back into the box.
I have my own custom strap and also separate charger for batteries. It's a good thing Sony is including 2 batteries since they are stupidly expensive and the battery life on any Sony mirrorless cameras suck.
Ergonomics I prefer mark I models' button placement because they are bigger with no slopes. Just because when I put the camera up to my eye level, my finger is travelling less distance to press the button. But it just does all right. Loving the extra grip and heft of the body. Although, I would give up the extra weight for less grip of mark I models. Dials are recessed. A little too much. But no problem in using them.
Quality I will have to take it out and find out. But from what I've seen from the shop, it is a monster. I will, however, wait for my own experience to make judgement. For short hands on, sharpness is really great. It's probably one of the sharpest (lens 55mm f1.8) cameras I've seen up till now. Noise, to me, is nothing to be impressed about. I mean, it's very impressive for what it is, but it's not the most noise free camera. What's impressive is, at 42mp, I will be able to use the same ISO range I've been using with previous 24mp cameras. It also means, if I downsize the 42mp photo into 24mp size, I will have much cleaner image. But I will have to have a bit of play to have definitive opinion.
AF Before getting this on my hand, I had mixed reviews regarding this topic. Now, when I saw the reviews about AF, some of them I just couldn't agree with because of how they tested. And here's my opinion. Sony's mirrorless camera has different AF system than we used to have on DSLR where they only relied on phase detection focusing or very, very crappy contrast detection. First of all, all Sony mirrorless systems have highly advanced contrast detection AF and it's assisted by phase detection AF. After having some experience with A7 and A7s and initial setup stage of A7Rii, I can say that, it will be hard to measure the performance of AF of this camera with conventional method. AF in many different occasions, Sony has variety of AF solutions available. Mostly they are very complicated to find out which is fitted for which, but once you figure them out, you can get so much more accurate focusing with speed.
It is an unfortunate mistake we've made. When our son was just over a year old, my wife started to get restless from him waking up almost every couple of hours every single night. She eventually had him in the middle of our bed when she got really, really tired. Now, we have no other choice. Once he starts to understand more on what we say, we will be sending him to his own room but for now, we decided to just cherish this moment.
In our bedroom, we have blackout curtain. So when the sun goes down and curtains in, it's complete darkness. The only light I used for above photo is unlock screen light of my smartphone. Photo above was taken with A7s and 55mm f1.8. Setting was 1/25, f1.8, ISO 51200. Yes, terrible condition. But we started to take some photos of him sleeping just because we could. What's more amazing, A7s with it's af ability of -4 EV, I could actually AF in this horrible condition. Crazy. There is nothing like this as far as I know.
Photo below is the one I've just took with A7Rii just to compare. Setting was 0.6s, f1.8, ISO6400. Yes, unfortunately the condition isn't identical. It's actually tiny bit brighter. We had extra light coming from outside the room because my wife was also check out boy's position. Most important part of this test was not low light image quality, it was for low light AF performance. As far as I know, not even my old Nikon D3s could focus here. A7Rii? Failed. Not in any part of the frame. I had to use manual focusing to get it right, but not even focus peaking was working in this condition. Although A7Rii failed my test, It's great that I don't have to shoot in this condition unless I'm photographing my baby boy's sleeping position.
Hands On Early Verdict So far, I'm very impressed, but it's too early to tell. I've basically taken it out of the box and just played with it briefly. Tomorrow, I'm taking this beautiful monster out. I will have a bit of play around outside. It will still be too early to tell. I will try to get as many as 100 photos (when I say 100, I mean 100 good ones) than I will make my second judgement. So, stay tuned.