Like most photographers I’m sure, my news feed has been abuzz lately with all kinds of articles and thoughts about Sony’s new mirrorless camera, the A7r Mark II. I’ve been using the original A7 for about a year now, and really love it when I just wanted go small and light and still get full frame quality. But with the very impressive specs of this new one, it got me thinking, as it did many others, why can’t we use these for full time professional work? As it seems right now, there’s really no reason we can’t, and I think I’m well on my way down that road! I’ve put my Canon gear on auction block, which is a big move I know, but one I’ve carefully thought about and I think it’s the right move, for me at least. So, being a Canon shooter all of my professional life, is it smart and viable to ditch what I know and jump into a new, somewhat uncharted ocean? I had to find out…
Being what I like to believe is a smart consumer, I didn’t just run out and drop 3 grand on a new system that seemed good, and probably wouldn’t even if I could. I like to research, to be really sure of what I’m getting and getting into, so I found a shop here in Saigon with the A7RII for rent and decided to take one out for a few days on a little trip to try it out. Scroll down to see the images, and judge for yourself perhaps, but in short, I’m all but sold and will be getting one in the very near future. I honestly can’t wait to shave pounds off of my bag and back and not come home after a long day of shooting feeling like I just carried a box of bricks around all day! And of course as well getting more quality and features in the smaller package as well.
We left Saigon and headed toward Long Hai, a costal region about 100km out of the city, with a brief ferry crossing on the way, which was a good place to start clicking!
Once we arrived in Long Hai, our first stop was the “Cang Ca’ or fishing port, where mega loads of seafood were being sorted and processed, and action and/or sitting around was everywhere! You’ll see plenty more fish below, so don’t worry .. 🙂
Exploring further, we passed an old mansion on the road and of course had to stop. It was a house originally built by a rich Chinese business man many years ago, and abandoned after his daughter died of small pox in the house (just what I heard, if anyone can confirm 🙂 ) Anyway, it was a perfect place to shoot a bit and test the dynamic range of the camera, which turned out to be really damn good! Lightroom did part of the work, but you can see the difference in inside out and outside exposures I was able to capture very well.
For such a cool space, apart from this big piece, there was really very little graffiti or signs of teenagers hanging out here. There were only 3 beer cans in the whole house! Come On Long Hai teens, get your act together and hang out where you’re not supposed to be! I recovered a lot of shadows in this frame as well, as I exposed for the outside and was able to bring back all of the details on the wall with nearly no degradation of detail.
My brother was brave enough to sneak in with me, so he got put in a tube of light streaming down from the ceiling and shot at!
After we had enough of the house, it was across the street to the beach to see what was going on there, and apparently quite a few different things it seemed…
Continuing on toward lunch, I got sidetracked yet again by a group of men working with large shipping ropes on the side of the road. I just had to stop and I”m glad I did as it gave me a good chance to play with the tilt screen on the Sony and get some unique angles, something just not possible ,or at least not without a lot of contorting and backache, on the 5D’s I”ve been using for so long now.
Again, a great deal of detail in the shadow area is there waiting to be pulled out. In the original exposure, the man is quite dark and his tattoo is all black, but a simple tweak of the shadows slider in Lightroom brought it back very nicely and cleanly.
While stopping for the rope guys, nearby was also demolished and colorful house, and how could I not shoot that with my lovely fiancee standing in…
Alright, this one just for fun and to test the autofocus on shooting from the hip and quickly moving subjects and the camera nailed it!
We finally did make it to lunch, and after a good belly full of seafood, I wandered out to the beach to see what was going on, which was what seems like the never-ending task of untangling fishing nets. I still get a headache just by watching this, as I just don’t have that much patience nor agile fingers, but the guy below seemed to enjoy what he was doing!
Back at the fish market the next morning on the way home, I found a few more things to point and snap at. In this shot the camera really impressed me as well, as it caught the guy quickly passing by me, nailing focus on his face, and with the dynamic range that let me pull his face out from what was basically a very underexposed capture.
More fish everywhere! It’s not something I normally shoot, as I need humanity in my images to get the emotion that I’m always looking for, but I did here just to test out the detail of the A7RII’s captures, and as suspected, they didn’t disappoint at all, letting you zoom in see as much detail in a fish as you’d ever want to I think 🙂
A quick shot to capture some of the frenzied activity going on all through the market and the camera did very well tracking the man with the cart as he approached.
And finally for what was my favorite capture of the day perhaps, a man stood watching as the fishmongers sorted through their fresh catches, begging them for a few strays so that he may eat for the day. I can only imagine this goes on each day for him, and I think that feeling was written all over his face as well.
So in conclusion, Sony has pretty much won over my heart (and soon more of my hard earned dollars) and I can’t wait until I can load up a few bodies and lenses in a bag at a fraction of the weight and I space I required before, and even get much better image quality to boot! Canon, I still love you, and you can maybe win me back if you try, but you gotta up your game and come up with something smaller, more powerful and more useful than Sony has. I can only wish any of the manufactures good luck with that one, but I will be watching. Impress us, give us what we want and need and you win the money, it’s as simple as that…
P.S. All images were shot with either Sony 28mm f2 or Sony Zeiss 55 f1.8 lenses and were processed using a film emulation preset, which is why they may look a little different than my typical style, but giving it a try since these shots were only for fun anyway 🙂