sony a7r2, a mini review

The mirrorless interchangeable lens camera world has come a long way.  I have been fortunate enough to try quite a few of the mirrorless cameras including olympus ep-1, olympus, em-1, fujifilm xt1, fujifilm xe-2, sony a7r, sony a7s, sony a7r2.  I started off with the bright and shiny olympus ep-1 in 2009 with subpar autofocus but exciting image quality at the time.  It would have never replaced a DSLR, but it was decent enough for travel and those times where you don't want to lug around a DSLR.  Fast forward 6 years to 2015, the sony a7r2 puts together some of the best technologies around for one of the best digital cameras.  I feel the only areas where it lags is for sports shooters (it doesn't even touch the canon 1dx for tracking) and camera operation (sony needs to look at the olympus em-1 for responsiveness).

I'll throw out my personal a7r2 list of pros and cons.

1. Eye-AF.  I love this feature.  It seems to track the closest eye in the frame.  It beats focusing and recomposing for maximum sharpness.  I have the camera set on AF-C with face detection and the AF/MF switch set to eye AF.  It is very responsive and fun to use.
2. Live view in dark studios.  The first time I did a studio shoot with this camera, it was in a fairly dark studio setting.  I was at f8, iso 200, and a black screen.  The only time I was able to see the people in front of me is when the lens was focusing.  I was thinking there had to be a menu option to fix this. The menu option I was supposed to turn off to allow the camera to show me what's in front of me is "Live View Display" found in the gear menu and the #3 submenu.  Thankfully the shoot turned out well by guess framing.  So the a7r2 can see in the dark whereas a DSLR can only see the available light through the optical viewfinder.
3. Custom dial 1 & 2.  I really like my custom settings.  This allows me to be quick whenever I need to use c-AF.  It's so much faster than wading through the settings and picking single shot AF to continuous AF and then choosing the best autofocus area for the situation.  After fiddling with all of that, whatever you were excited to capture is no longer there.  I know this feature isn't unique to Sony, but I'm glad they included it on this camera.  Quickly switching to my custom dial 1, I have c-AF with a small AF area and face/eye tracking ready to go.  Switching to custom dial 2, I have c-AF and a wide AF area.
4. Using the a7r2 with a metabones IV EF-E adapter and canon lenses.  I love the look of the canon 50mm f1.2L and the 85mm f1.2L mkii lenses.  One of the biggest reasons I hated using them was because the canon cameras didn't focus that well with them.  Stick those lenses on an a7r2 and a metabones adapter and it's WONDERFUL.  Focus is spot on every time; it's SO MUCH MORE ACCURATE.  I only can speak of those two lenses at this time since I don't have any other canon lenses.  The 50mm f1.2L is fast and accurate with the a7r2/metabones.  The 85mm f1.2L mkii is slightly slower but accurate.  It's so much better than using them on canon bodies hands down.
5. IBIS.  In-body image stabilization is amazing in such a small body.  It just helps me get those shots in lower light.  Not much to say here, but it is awesome.
6. Paired with the 55mm f1.8.  One of the sharpest lenses.  The level of sharpness really makes photos pop.

1. Overall use is sluggish.  Turning on the camera can take a few seconds, especially after switching to a new battery.  Pressing a button has a slight delay.  Wading through the menus is annoying.  Nothing is as responsive as a canon/nikon DSLR where everything is near instantaneous.  Sony should look at the olympus em-1.  The em-1 is an extremely responsive camera.
2. Monster files.  This camera puts out 40+ megabyte files or 80+ megabyte files with the uncompressed raw option in a recent firmware update.  You'll need a pretty decent computer to process these files in an efficient manner.  I haven't had too much trouble with it since I'm running a Raid 6 with a high bandwidth.  Maybe those 80 megabyte files will slow people down like when you're shooting 6x6 medium format film at $5+ a pop.  Haha, doubt it.  SPRAY AND PRAY baby.  I'm guilty of this too :D
3. Memory card door.  This thing is just kinda flimsy and it feels weak.  I can barely bump into this and it will open.  Not so great when it's raining and it accidentally opens.
4. Battery life.  There has to be a compromise somewhere to keep this excellent camera small.  It does kind of suck to buy another $200 in batteries after buying an already expensive camera.  Be careful with some of the non-Sony batteries as some of them may have a tighter fit and may get stuck in the camera.  I'm sure a shaving down the battery plastic might help, but it wasn't worth it for me.

The Sony a7r2 has completely replaced my DSLRs.  I sold off all my canon and nikon cameras and now only own the Sony a7r2.  Overall, I think it's one of the best full frame digital cameras available and provides all the latest and fun technologies in a small body with the added annoyance of sluggishness.

Time for sony or zeiss to put down the pedal on fast lenses.  I would love to have a native 50mm f1.2 or a 85mm f1.2.

Recently just made an instagram account.  Follow me there! b.toh

a7r2 + sony zeiss 55mm f1.8

a7r2 + metabones EF-E IV + canon 85mm f1.2L mkii

a7r2 + sony 70-200mm f4

a7r2 + sony zeiss 16-35mm f4 [photo taken by vicki]