A7 MkII vs A7S or A7R

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by gungajim, May 6, 2016.

  1. What causes the A7 MkII to be less expensive than then the latter two models? Thanks.
  2. Marketing and pricing strategy are probably the most closely guarded corporate secrets. I can describe the features which I find most significant, which may command a higher price as a result. Part of it may be history. Ground-breaking products tend to command a premium price. This prices tends to be somewhat "sticky" even when more advanced models appear, with prices held down by a more competetive marketplace.
    Sony has the corner on the full-frame mirrorless market. Pentax has just announced their version, but it's not available just yet. As I recall, Contax announced the "N" camera with IBIS with great fanfare, yet never delivered even one.
    The A7ii is an improved version of the original A7, with higher resolution and better AF technology. The major feature improvement is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The latest upgrade added an uncompressed 14 bit RAW image option, in addition to a lossy compressed version with half-sized files.
    The A7S is optimized for high-ISO performance and high-quality video without line-skipping, which leads to aliasing. It also uses the full sensor for both HD and 4K video. It also has a completely silent electronic shutter option, in addition to electronic first curtain and standard close-expose-close-view operation.
    The A7Sii uses the same sensor as the A7S, adding IBIS and some other features.
    The A7R has a higher resolution sensor (36 MP) than the A7/A7ii (24 MP), and no AA filter. It had about the highest resolution of any full frame camera at its introduction, but has been surpassed by the Canon 5Ds (50 MP) and Sony A7Rii (42 MP, no AA), and equalled by the Nikon D800/D810 cameras. (36 MP). Prices tend to be "sticky", even though excessive shutter vibration rendered its advantage over the 24 MP A7 and A7ii largely moot.
    The A7Rii has it all - IBIS, 42 MP, no AA, and outstanding video capability. It is not as optimized for video as the A7S and A7Sii, but produces broadcast quality video comparable to video cameras costing twice as much. Like the S versions, it has an optional silent electronic shutter. It has an uncompressed, 14 bit RAW option, which produces 84 MB files. Video can use the entire sensor with line-skipping, or an optimized version from a Super-35 (APS-C) cropped area.
  3. Fyi, the Pentax K-1 has a pentaprism OVF, so technically, it's not a mirrorless full-frame camera.
  4. Thanks Edward. That was a very thoughtful and understandable response.
  5. I saw the headlines for the Pentax but didn't read the release. Pixel shifting sounds interesting. Phase One had something like that for medium format.
  6. <<even though excessive shutter vibration rendered its advantage over the 24 MP A7 and A7ii largely moot.>> (A7R)
    With the RRS L-plate firmly attached, using prime lenses, and using a good tripod, this "issue" is all but eliminated.
  7. Photozone and many other reviewers would beg to differ on the A7R. While a sturdy mount and tripod help, the camera never lives up to its potential. If you already own an A7R, do what you can, but I would not recommend this camera to a new purchaser at any price when so much better is available. The A7R is the only body without an electronic first shutter option, which eliminates this source of vibration with few if any side effects.
    With IBIS, I rarely need a tripod unless I'm trying to extract as much detail as possible, or to achieve hands-free operation for portraits and group photos. I have used an A7ii with a 300 mm lens (Nikon) down to 1/30 second without excessive camera shake.
  8. Edward. no argument at all for using the A7R handheld with a telephoto zoom, especially in portrait orientation. But my experience is with smaller lighter primes no longer than 90mm, and using a tripod, and doing this there is no material loss in resolution. Makes the A7R a one trick pony however, but for landscape work it's OK. I picked mine up as an open box for just over $1100.
  9. That was a good price, and you know what you're doing, Peter. I was thinking more of the new price of $1900, which is often further discounted vs the cost of a new A7ii. These cameras are made well enough that there's not a lot of risk buying one used. All but the original A7 have a magnesium body.
  10. I saw the headlines for the Pentax but didn't read the release​
    regardless, it's still not a mirrorless full-frame camera.
  11. Edward, thanks for the analysis and the detailed list of features. Sony is very innovative, but the plethora of new cameras can be confusing. I really like the idea of IBIS and electronic silent shutter, and especially all in the same camera with many other features--not that I have the money to go changing brands right now.
    Do you mind if I ask which of them you prefer, now that you have tried more than one?
  12. I purchased an A7ii because it had IBIS and could use any lens in my collection. I keep that camera as a backup for an A7Rii, which I purchased on pre-order about 6 months later. The A7Rii is my favorite camera, not only between Sony's, but of all times.
    Much of my professional work is associated with classical music - recording and video. Absolute silence is a great feature, which I wouldn't do without again. I don't need long lenses (other than a 70-200 f/4) nor high shooting speeds. In a pinch, I can use it as an extra video camera with broadcast quality results. For fun, I like to shoot landscapes and closeups (and family).
    It was a bit of a bite, but I felt I needed to update an aging Nikon system - a D3 purchased used in 2010 and lenses, some dating back to 2001. It didn't hurt to reduce the load a bit. My pick up and go kit is a backpack (Thinktank Airport Essentials) weighing about 20 pounds. That's not exactly "light", but I have the same capability as my Nikon kit weighing 30-35 pounds. The camera itself produces medium format image quality in a package the size of a Leica M.
    IBIS is highly effective. At the risk of getting wonky, it reduces camera shake between 3 and 4 stops, based on the 1/F rule. It doesn't stop subject motion, but a tripod is needed only for critical work, closeups and for hands-free photography..
  13. Much of my professional work is associated with classical music - recording and video. Absolute silence is a great feature, which I wouldn't do without again.​
    I was at a dance program a couple of weeks in which I would have loved to have had the opportunity to shoot--but then the thought of the shutter going off on one of my big Nikons made me realize that I would have been invited out, never to be allowed to return. Edward, you have given me reason to seriously assess my own collection of bodies and lenses. A big change can't happen soon, however, and so at present I am simply sitting here wondering when Nikon might add a body that could do everything that Sony is currently doing. I am not optimistic.
  14. If Sony follows their established pattern, a new A7 (A9, whatever) may be announced near the end of the year. The most likely features will be improved weatherproofing, dual card slots and a faster continuous shooting rate. If these are important to you, it's worth waiting. However prices on existing models will drop, and after deliveries start there will be used gear on the market in good condition (dilettantes are always the early-adopters).
  15. Thank you, Edward.
    Given the relevance of your very long post on another thread that I started this morning bearing on Sony's position in the industry, I hope that you will not mind if I link to it here:
    Your particular post can be found at May 08, 2016; 02:54 p.m.
  16. Many DSLRs also have a silent shutter mode nowadays (Canon does 'cos I use it a lot). It may not be as quiet as the A7, but it is good for classical music or theater. My point is that this need not be a make or break issue for camera choice.
  17. I'm familiar with the Canon 5D2, and it is the quietest shutter of any DSLR I've heard. However it is not silent. The only way to achieve that with a DSLR is through live view. At one time, the silent option for DSLRs only produced low-res, 480x720 images. Hopefully that's changed, but live view is awkward for even slow-mo action. Whether it is essential or not depends on the venues you handle. I don't shoot many weddings, but I would definitely use a silent shutter during the actual service.
    I find you actually need a shutter sound when shooting small groups and portraits. People expect a sound, and are somewhat unnerved when it doesn't happen. I've had other photographers try my camera, and ask if it was turned off or something.
  18. The 5D2 does not have the silent shutter mode found in current Canon DSLRs.
  19. http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canon-eos-5d-mark-iii/15
    The 5D3 has a reduced noise mode which they call "silent." It's not silent, but it cycles at a slower speed - 3 fps instead of 5 fps. In Live View Mode 1, the same shutter setting is used as for the mirror mode. In Mode 2, the shutter doesn't re-arm until you release the shutter button, presumably when ambient noise will mask the operation. Again, it's not silent, but according to the reviewer, but it it is quieter than the Nikon D800 (and I'm certain, my Nikon D3). The 5D2 makes less noise than my Leica M9, possibly the M3, much less than a Sony A7ii, and about the same as a Sony A7Rii, both in electronic front shutter mode (mechanical close and open after exposure).

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