Confessions of a Gear Addict

I’ve always been a gadget nut – give me something that lights up, winds up, beeps, dances etc.; I’ll get it, play with it, take it apart, use it for something that the creators never imagined. (Microwaves are great for creating lightning storms.)

I had my eye on the A7S from Sony for quite a while.  That ISO 409,000 full frame thing had me tempted as heck.  There were two big ‘eh’s for me – the 12mp sensor (should be fine for most work, but when I’m doing composites, more resolution is helpful) and that to record 4k video, you have to go out and purchase additional add ons, creating bulk and screwing with the whole point of having a nearly pocket sized camera.

Enter the A7RII.  Internal 4k!!!!!  (I dunno why this is such a thing – why on earth would I want to add something like an Atmos Ninja if the whole attraction is a small system?)

109,000 ISO. Not as high as the A7S, which uses larger pixels to capture more light – why the sensor has a relatively low MP count for the current market.  And that high ISO is attached to a 42MP sensor – plenty of resolution for fussy edits.  I fully expect my Mamiya to still kick it’s butt in terms of smoothness and pizzazz, but that’s what MF does best.  (What it does NOT do is let you walk around relatively unencumbered.  The only way I’m taking that beast out of the studio is if I inherit a Sherpa.)

It arrived today, and I’m currently charging the battery, so further thoughts on image coming soon.

First impressions out of the box:

  1. For it’s size, this little bugger is HEAVY.  The body is a mix of brushed aluminum and plastic, and weather sealed.  It’s large enough to feel comfortable in the hand, and still lighter than the MKIII.  It may be similar in weight to the original 7D, albeit in a smaller body.
  2.  DIALS OF AWESOMENESS.  All of the controls are laid out very nicely, and the dials are large, metal, solid feeling. They are also textured on the side, allowing easy and comfortable thumb control.
  3. There’s a dial just for exposure compensation. Way cool.  Sometimes, I just want to drop exposure a little without drastically changing anything else.  I don’t know yet what setting it changes, or if it behaves more like a digital ND filter.
  4. Viewfinder! I usually do a mix of viewfinder and live view shooting, so not having to pay extra to have one is nice.  It also saves on battery.  (My little knockaround, which I’ll highlight some other time, lacks a viewfinder. I bring it on every shoot, as sort of a super light just playing camera.  That’s the one that also goes just about everywhere with me.)
  5. Live view screen does that pop out and tilt thing.  This is neither a plus nor minus for me, as I always forget when a camera does this.
  6. Just a sexy looking little camera.  It reminds me of old school SLRs, both in dimension and form factor.  It’s unobtrusive, while still looking like a serious machine. (This matters more when you’re dealing with clients who don’t do media regularly.)

I can’t wait to get this thing charged up and play with it!

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