I have been a Nikon user for the whole of my professional life. Starting out with the d700 and moving onto the D4 then D4s. Today, I think this might have changed. This morning, a friendly delivery man handed me an orange & black box.

Sony has been much discussed in photography circles lately, and even more so in my living room. Andy, who has been second shooting for me recently, bought a Sony a7s last year and has been raving about it (persistently) ever since. I politely smiled and nodded along to his rambling monologues about ISO performance and how sharp the Sony Zeiss lenses were, but honestly? I was doubtful Sony would stand up against the Nikon and Canon images I am so used to working with.

How wrong I was! The photos coming from Andy’s little 12 megapixel mirrorless camera were stunning. Superior over the D4s in low light (this thing literally sees in the dark!) and boy the Sony Zeiss lenses (particularly the 55mm 1.8 and 35mm 1.4) are sharp. Very very sharp. SHARP.

By the time the a7rII was announced, my concerns about mirrorless image quality had entirely evaporated. I really wanted this camera.

So back to this little orange & black box… I’m used to having a D4s and a D4 hanging from my sides like two concrete blocks. I have to go through doors sideways, and my back after a wedding? Ouch! :/ The a7rII is small and lightweight, but feels solid and fits well in the hand. The ergonomics are an improvement over the first generation of a7 series cameras, which had a slightly odd shutter button position and I found the grip a little bit too shallow. With the 55mm 1.8 the whole thing weighs about 900 grams. My D4s with Sigma 50mm 1.4 ART comes in at over 2000 grams. My back is already thanking me!

This afternoon I headed over to Andy’s recording studio to try it out in a low light environment. I don’t know what it is about musicians, but they seem to enjoy gloom. ;) They call it vibey or moody apparently! :P I also dragged Andy’s parents, Ian and Fiona, down to Penarth Pier for an impromptu shoot. Unfortunately the dull weather was not on our side, no sun flares, back light or nice contrast this time! I don’t think I’ve used the camera long enough to comment in detail on things like autofocus. It felt fast using the native E mount lenses, even in the lower light of the studio I had no issues. Maybe a more in depth review will come later on. I can’t wait to try it on my next wedding photography job!

Opening the files in Lightroom was nothing other than a ‘WOW’ moment. I was and still am completely blown away by the detail in these images. Nothing else really needs to be said!

Here is a selection of images from today, all taken with 35mm 1.4 & 55mm 1.8 Sony Zeiss lenses. I’ve included most of the 100% crops as well.

Huge thanks to Brownie, Harri & Daf, and also Fiona & Ian for their patience with my lack of camera confidence today!

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Aperture: 1.6

Shutter: 1:320

ISO: 200

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and much closer into the same picture

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Aperture: 1.6

Shutter: 1:500

ISO: 200

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Harry playing piano, natural light this time

Aperture: 2

Shutter: 1:250

ISO: 500

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and crop to 2048px again

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Aperture: 1.6

Shutter: 1:250

ISO: 200

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insane detail on the mic! :O

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Aperture: 1.6

Shutter: 1:250

ISO: 1600

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100% cropped in again:

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Aperture: 1.7

Shutter: 1:8000

ISO: 200

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Aperture: 1.8

Shutter: 1:8000

ISO: 200

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100% cropped in

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Aperture: 1.4

Shutter: 1:8000

ISO: 200

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Aperture: 1.7

Shutter: 1:5000

ISO: 200

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Aperture: 1.4

Shutter: 1:8000

ISO: 200

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100% cropped in

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Aperture: 1.7

Shutter: 1:8000

ISO: 200

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100% cropped in

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Aperture: 1.8

Shutter: 1:2000

ISO: 200

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Aperture: 1.7

Shutter: 1:5000

ISO: 200

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100% cropped in

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Aperture: 1.7

Shutter: 1:2000

ISO: 200

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Aperture: 1.8

Shutter: 1:250

ISO: 4000

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100% cropped in

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Aperture: 1.8

Shutter: 1:250

ISO: 1600

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Aperture: 1.6

Shutter: 1:6  (!)

ISO: 200

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Aperture: 1.6

Shutter: 1:160

ISO: 200

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Aperture: 2

Shutter: 1:250

ISO: 1000

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Aperture: 2

Shutter: 1:250

ISO: 12800

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Aperture: 1.8

Shutter: 1:250

ISO: 640

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Aperture: 1.6

Shutter: 1:200

ISO: 200

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this one is about 70% cropped in

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Aperture: 1.8

Shutter: 1:250

ISO: 2000

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Aperture: 1.8

Shutter: 1250

ISO: 1000

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