April 24, 2015

First Sony A7ii Review + New York City Time-Lapse

Review Travel

I really tried to like the Sony A7r for wedding photography, I did! You can read the initial Sony A7r for Weddings review blog post here and then the follow up here, where I talk about using the Sony A7r at a few Indian weddings and Vietnamese weddings as a second camera body. While it’s a great landscape camera, not so much in a dimly let reception venue as a wedding camera. Well, of course Sony does offer the A7 which DOES fit that niche, but I was blinded by the high megapixel count of the -R rather than looking for what I actually need =). When Sony announced the new updated A7 Version 2 (A7ii) I knew that I needed to finally make the switch if I really wanted to use this camera for weddings. A few weeks ago we posted the A7r on eBay, and after it sold I swung by the B&H Superstore in New York City and picked up the Sony A7ii with the new Zeiss 16-35mm f/4 OSS lens. Just playing with the camera in the store, I knew that as a wedding photographer, this was the camera I should have purchased all along. So here goes my first Sony A7ii review for the blog!

Sony A7ii Review First Impressions

I haven’t had a wedding yet to take this to as we’re just thawing out here in New York, but Spring are warmer weather is definitely around the corner! One day we will be in the 60s, the next day in the 50s, so it’s allllmost there. Spring weather means that soccer season has started again for my son, and taking photos of kids running around a soccer field is almost like a wedding, right? Soccer practice was a good chance to test the focusing capabilities of the A7ii, and I just used the 16-35mm Zeiss lens again here, processed with Lightroom and a tweaked VSCO preset for Sony cameras:

Sony A7ii Soccer Tests

Sony A7ii Soccer Tests

Sony A7ii Soccer Tests

Sony A7ii Soccer Tests

Sony A7ii Soccer Tests

Sony A7ii Soccer Tests

Sony A7ii Soccer Tests

Sony A7ii Soccer Tests

Sony A7ii Soccer Tests

The A7ii handles much better than the A7r, which is definitely a landscape photographer’s camera rather than a wedding photographer’s =). The added grip girth on the new A7ii means it sits a bit better in my hand with the shutter button in a more familiar location with the Canon 5D Mark III that I usually shoot at weddings. AF was quick and responsive as I chased around my son on the soccer field during his practice here in New York. I was shooting the 16-35mm lens so most of these are wide angle shots, but even so the background out of focus area (bokeh) is subtle and nice at f/4 with the Sony A7ii’s full frame sensor.

Earlier this week I headed out on the streets of New York City to shoot some time-lapse tests with the Sony A7ii and some other time lapse toys I have around. Check out the video above which is a quick compilation of everything I shot on Tuesday. With these Spring showers we have been getting rain and wind the rest of the week so it might be a few more days before I bring out all of the equipment again for any more NYC time lapses. For the first sequence I was in Midtown Manhattan around Herald Square, which is where Macy’s flagship “World’s Largest Store” is located as you see in the videos. I was shooting with the Sony A7ii, Zeiss 16-35mm f/4 OSS and a LEE Big Stopper ND filter for these time lapses. Here are a few still frames to also show the Sony A7ii’s landscape photo qualities:

New York City with Sony A7ii Time-Lapse

New York City with Sony A7ii Time-Lapse

New York City with Sony A7ii Time-Lapse

After shooting here a bit I walked over to the Koreatown part of Midtown Manhattan to shoot a cool steam vent that was letting out some underground subway steam on 32nd. It gave an interesting look with the streaking steam, pedestrians, and traffic of New York City that I was really happy with.

New York City with Sony A7ii Time-Lapse

New York City with Sony A7ii Time-Lapse

New York City with Sony A7ii Time-Lapse

As night fell and I grabbed a bite to eat, I ended up down in Greenwich Village near NYU and decided to shoot a couple of motion time-lapse sequences with the Cinetics Axis360 for a 3-axis move. Adding that dynamic movement is really cool in time lapse videos as you can see above. Here are a few selected still frames from the above video shot down in Greenwich Village, NYC:

New York City with Sony A7ii Time-Lapse

New York City with Sony A7ii Time-Lapse

New York City with Sony A7ii Time-Lapse

My trip back to Midtown took me to Washington Square Park where everyone was enjoying the warmer weather we were having on Tuesday. That’s what I love about New York City, even at 10 or 11 o’clock at night the park was very busy with people out for a night, NYU students roaming around, guys skateboarding in the light of the arch, everything – on a Tuesday! You could really feel the energy and life of New York City that night.

New York City with Sony A7ii Time-Lapse

New York City with Sony A7ii Time-Lapse

New York City with Sony A7ii Time-Lapse

Be sure to check out Mike Scotto of Scotto Films whom I met while he was skateboarding that night if you need a wedding videographer in the Albany Capital area of New York!

Thanks for checking out this initial Sony A7ii review blog post! I have another Indian Wedding down in Atlanta in a few weeks where I can finally put this camera to the test as a wedding camera, and in the mean time I will be roaming the streets of New York City a few more times for time lapse I hope =)

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