Sony a9 - Just Announced | Hands-on!

Sony is going after Canon/Nikon in a BIG way.   While Sony cameras continue to sell well - their aps-c line and full frame, the sidelines of sporting events are still dominated by Canon and Nikon. The newly announced Sony a9 hopes to change that. With the a7R II and a7S II already pushing Sony full frame sales above Nikon for the 2nd spot, this is an exciting announcement.I am here in New York for the Sony a9 announcement and hands-on shooting.  I just recorded my thoughts in a short video

Highlights of the Sony a9

  • World’s First1 full-frame stacked CMOS sensor, 24.2 MP2 resolution
  • Blackout-Free Continuous Shooting at up to 20 fps for up to 241 RAW/ 362 JPEG images
  • 4K video and 1080 at 120fps
  • Silent, Vibration-free shooting at speeds up to 1/32,000 sec
  • 693 point focal plane phase detection AF points with 60 AF/AE tracking calculations per second and 93% AF frame coverage
  • Extensive professional features including Ethernet port for file transfer, Dual SD card slots and extended battery life (2.2x a7 series battery life)
  • 5-Axis in-body image stabilization
  • Nub (joystick for selecting focus point)
  • Touchscreen LCD
  • Upgraded viewfinder - bigger/brighter
  • Addition of My Menu section to save your favorite menu items

Preorders start 10am Fri Apr 21  - B&H LINK for Sony a9  PRICE:  $4,499.00Also announced -

Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS Lens

  • E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/4.5-5.6 to f/32-40
  • One Super ED Element and Two ED Elements
  • Nano AR Coating and Fluorine Coating
  • Direct Drive SSM Focus System
  • Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization
  • Zoom Torque Adjustment Ring
  • Internal Focus, Focus Range Limiter
  • Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction
  • Nine-Blade Circular Diaphragm

Preorders start 10am Fri Apr 21 - B&H LINK for Sony FE 100-400   PRICE:  $2,499.00 

Sony a7R Mark II in Iceland

I have now been shooting with the Sony a7R Mark II (a7Rm2) for most of the day here in Iceland (today was the meet everyone, wander about town and get settled into the hotel day, tomorrow (Aug 7th) we head out for some seriously beautiful landscapes.HARPASee more images from the Sony a7R IISony a7R II

  • AF is very good and improved over earlier Sony models
  • AF with Metabones is also excellent though I have seen some confusion, just once actually in lower light- will be testing more.
  • Image quality is excellent
  • Feel in the hand is wonderful
  • The control dials for aperture and shutter speed are smallish and I wish they were bigger and placed more prominently
  • 4K video - looks good, I have just shot a few minutes of clips, more soon on this.
  • Battery life is terrible, but you can use the camera while charging - so walking around with a USB battery attached to the camera looks silly but gives you much better battery life.

See more images from the Sony a7R IIIf you think you want one now. Put in a preorder now. B&H has over 1,000 preorders and only got a couple hundred in- most camera stores seem to be getting them in ones and twos.Order the Sony a7 R Mark II from B&H Photo VideoRecommended SD Card for Sony a7 R Mark II 

Sony a7R Mark II - Video Preview

Preorder link: NOW- Availability will be limited. Shipping in late July.

 Sony has announced the a7 Mark II and it offers a serious and significant upgrade to the original Sony a7R. I run through the spec lists and share why this may be the camera so many of us Canon photographers are waiting for. Preorder link: my work- buy fromB&H:

Sony a7 Mark II Tips - Better Battery Life & More

Quick tips for a better experience with the Sony a7 Mark IISony a7 Mark II Tips

  1. Back Button Focus (more about back button focus)
  2. Set center button for quick focus point selection
  3. In low light use center of frame for faster and more accurate focusing
  4. Increase battery life
    1. Turn of Pre-AF
    2. Turn ON Airplane Mode
    3. Buy a USB battery backup to charge your camera while out and about. Recommended USB Battery: Buy from B&H
  5. Buy a prime lens - I recommend the Sony 35mm f/2.8: Buy from B&H

Have a tip? Leave a comment.

Sony a7 Mark II Review

After using the Sony a7 Mark II for several weeks I share my full review of this full frame mirrorless camera. How does the Sony a7 Mark II compare against the Canon 5D Mark III, my pro/con list and a discussion of where this camera fits in the current market of DSLR and Mirrorless cameras.Video Review: Sony a7 Mark IISony a7 Mark II Features:

  • 24MP (100 - 25,600) Low 50, 64, 80
  • 117 Phase detect / 25 Contrast Detect (center frame)
  • In-body image stabilization IBIS 5-axis ~ rated 4.5 stops
  • 1080 60p & XAVC S Codec 50MB/s bit rate
  • Weather sealed
  • 350 shots battery life
  • 1.32 lbs (598 grams)

Sony a7 Mark II Changes from Sony a7 - Or what the Mark II offers over the original a7

  • 30% faster focusing
  • In-body image stabilization IBIS 5-axis ~ 4.5 stops
  • XAVC S Codec 50MB/s bit rate - better quality video
  • Greater use of magnesium alloy in build construction
  • 350 shots battery life a7 Mark II vs 340 shots in a7
  • Redesign grip for, larger, feels better in hand.
  • Heavier, 1.32 lbs vs 1.04lbs

In my experience the focusing is better, the camera feels much nicer in the hand and the in-body image stabilization allows for excellent versatility and makes using older manual lenses more useful.Sony a7 Mark II vs Sony a7 Sony a7 Mark II Pros:

  • Travel friendly - smaller and lighter than most full frame cameras, can even fit in some jacket pockets, especially when using the excellent Sony Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens
  • IBIS + shoot with fast prime! - Handheld slow shutter speeds shots are possible, also useful for handheld video (see sample a7 Mark II images)
  • Capable AF system - for general photography and street photography the AF system is fast enough to avoid any frustrating experiences.
  • Peaking and Magnification - additional manual focus aids can be easily assigned custom buttons for quick access and add to your focusing confidence.
  • Very good image quality, fairly clean at higher ISOs (see sample a7 Mark II images)
  • Excellent dynamic range in the RAW files (see sample a7 Mark II images)
  • Easy wireless control and photo transfer via NFC & WiFi

Sony a7 Mark II Cons:

  • Battery Life is short. buy a spare or two and/or carry a USB battery with you to charge the camera
  • Focus- Still not as fast a DSLR and not capable of capturing action or sports reliably.
    • Setting point - No dedicated button for focus point selection (see a7 Mark II tips)
    • Using single point in low light - Camera struggles in low light focusing outside the center area
  • Lens Selection- Sony's selection of native FE lenses is growing but significantly less options than Canon or Nikon offers
  • Pay for apps / Play memories store -I am annoyed that buying an intervalometer costs $9.99 in the app store.
  • Lack of touchscreen and Sony menu system is dense, it would be nice to have the option to touch to focus and a better designed menu system for easy setup.
  • Silly SDcard reqs for XAVC S Codec- You will not have the option of using XAVC S with cards smaller than 64GBs
  • Video Moire - The Morie during video is very noticeable in some situations.

 Sony a7 Mark II Bottom Line:The sony a7 Mark II is an excellent travel and general photography camera offering full frame image quality at a value with the ability to use small fast primes and still have stabilized shots as a nice bonus.  This is my current pick out of all the Sony a7 series cameras unless you are serious about video, consider the sony a7s if that is the case.Support my work-Buy from B&H PhotoSony a7 Mark II from B&H

Photo Mish Mash Ep 38 - Twenty-Four Get More

In this week's episode we discuss prime lenses for Canon(forcing a crop lens onto a full frame), Sony's new full frame a7 II, The Nikon D750, Monitor calibration, ponder the question "what if you suck?" and offer some advice on how to "suck less" - Which camera would you like me to review soon Samsung NX1 or the Panasonic LX100?Giveaway Mish Mash Ep #38 Date: 11/21/14Sponsors & Partners:SQUARESPACE - Save 10% off your purchase and get a 14 free trial - SQUARESPACE7 the all new all in one hosting and building platform. Use coupon code: TOBY Photography Academy: Fantastic trips- Join us this winter in Montana or next August in Iceland or September in GreeceRavPower - Don't be a slave to the wall- Get one for you and a friend at us on Instagram: in review:My 24mm Review and suggested names Canon Prime Lenses - on Monitor Calibration - cameras - week ahead -Lack of Wifi on a 7D Mark II - Problem SOLVED!A new critique will be out! am I working on longer term - D750 Review, New Sigma 18-300 vs Tamron 16-300This other GoPro coupon"SJCAMTH"--$86.99News:Fuji XT-1 Firmware Sony A7 Mark II is it waterproof at $59? Lume Cube is a high-power external lightsource for your smartphone or GoProNX1 Review from a videographer - if you suck Questions and suggested captions - button focusing, keeping 30,000 images organized, storing gear, when will we hear about the 6D Mark II, minimum focus distance of the 24mm, What is a cross type point? (see- , Nikon D750 Savings ( for group photos -

Just Announced: Sony's A7 II - faster autofocus and image stabilization

Screenshot 2014-11-20 08.14.25I reviewed the Sony A7 in April of this year - found it to be a lovely camera but suffered from slower AF and a small lens selection, unless you use adapters which causes focus to get even slower.   Since then I have reviewed the Sony a7r (36MP) and the Sony a7s (Amazing low light capabilities) along with the Sony FE mount to EF mount Metabones adapter that will provide access to all of my Canon lenses.    A complaint that is common across these sony A7 bodies and the more DSLR like A77 is lack of lenses - Sony now has something like 5 full frame bodies currently on the market and about 10 lenses that work natively (no adapters needed) with those bodies. Not a good ratio when you compare to Canon or Nikon.  But! the new Sony A7 II offers in body 5-axis image stabilization, this opens up greater possibilities with using older lenses and increases the catalog of lenses.Screenshot 2014-11-20 08.14.42

Sony A7 II Specs (Same as Original)

  • 24MP Full Frame Sony Sensor
  • 117 phase detect and 25 contrast detect points
  • 5fps continuous shots
  • Same Battery providing about 350 shots

Sony A7 II Upgrades:

5-Axis in body image stabilization. This is similar to what Olympus offers in their micro 4/3 series and I love the capabilities. Sony claims up to 4.5 stops of stabilization. Added benefit of making handheld video wonderful with any lensFaster AF - 30% improvement in the a7 II's AF speed and 1.5x better tracking performance than the original Sony A7Screenshot 2014-11-20 08.14.33Slight redesign to the body providing a deeper grip and more DSLR like feel.XVACs codec for video at 50MBPS and support for S-Log2 profile for better grading control of video in post Should be shipping in early December in Japan - not clear when it will be available here in the US.  Sony Product video showing the A7 Mark II Image Stabilization in action -  

Sony a7 & a7r Trade In Savings

See my review of the Sony A7R | My Review of the Sony a7Adorama has a sweet offering  - Trade in any working interchangeable lens camera for savings on the Sony A7, A7 with 24-70 or Sony A7r. This is on top of instant savings of $200 and 4% rewards! Start here or click the image below.Purchase a Sony a7 or a7R Camera and send Adorama your DSLR camera of any make or model and receive the following trade-in bonus:

  • $345 bonus towards the purchase of a Sony a7R
  • $300 bonus towards the purchase of a Sony a7 Kit
  • $255 bonus towards the purchase of a Sony a7 Body

More information about the trade in.  You buy the camera and they include a box with prepaid label to ship your old camera back. Any model as long as it works.

Sony a7 & a7r Trade In Savings

See my review of the Sony A7RAdorama has a sweet offering  - Trade in any working interchangeable lens camera for savings on the Sony A7, A7 with 24-70 or Sony A7r. This is on top of instant savings of $200 and 4% rewards! Start here or click the image below.Purchase a Sony a7 or a7R Camera and send Adorama your DSLR camera of any make or model and receive the following trade-in bonus:

  • $345 bonus towards the purchase of a Sony a7R
  • $300 bonus towards the purchase of a Sony a7 Kit
  • $255 bonus towards the purchase of a Sony a7 Body

Screenshot 2014-10-08 10.03.48More information about the trade in.  You buy the camera and they include a box with prepaid label to ship your old camera back. Any model as long as it works.

Sony a7 Review

This is a Full frame mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses from Sony. The a7 produces 24MP images, the Sony a7r shoot 36MP and the Sony a7s shoots 12MP targeted at videographers with the 4K recording capabilities and amazing low light capabilities.Pros of the Sony a7

  • Image Quality is on par with the 5D Mark III- Does well at the high ISOs and detail and colors are excellent.
  • The price - this is a professional level camera with professional features for photographers and videographers starting under than $1700!
  • Feature packed - from the professional features like AF microadjust to fun panorama mode, scenes, effects etc.
  • The video features - a whole host of features supporting manual focus, peaking and magnification and mic jack and headphone jack.
  • Feature packed on the inside and outside - 9 customizable dials so you can set this camera up the way you want and a completely customizable feature menu.
  • Weather sealed- although I don’t see rubber gaskets everywhere Sony does claim some level of weather/dust sealing.
  • A7 offers hybrid focus of contrast and phase - this helps it be a little snappier with the focusing, certainly not as fast a a true DSLR but not bad. With the phase turned off it does get slower and not something I would want to try to use to capture action.
  • Connectivity - smart phone NFC communication and wireless make easy image transfer and control of this camera a breeze

Cons of the Sony a7

  • Lens selection is lacking. Sony plans to release more lenses soon but currently there are just a few. You can use older NEX lenses (made for crop sensors) and lose some resolution or you can throw on an adapter.  I recommend the Metabones E to EF mount adapter and this works beautiful - full lens control, even IS works but focus becomes even more slow, so it really is only suitable for landscapes or use manual focus.
  • With the slower focus and a frame rate that isn't pro level you won't be capturing sports or faster action with this camera.
  • Battery life - This small camera use a smallish Sony battery and you really only get around 300 shots. Buy a spare and an external charger.
  • Outside in bright sun the LCD can be a little difficult to view, use the viewfinder and battery life actually decreases faster, blackout time in the viewfinder is a little long too.
  • Record button is awkwardly placed and if you have big hands the overall size/layout of the camera can feel cramped.

Reader/Viewer Questions about the Sony a7

Q: How does the video focus compare to the Canon 70D?A: Canon's Dual Pixel AF is faster and when you add in the touch screen on the 70D you have some amazing abilties with touch to focus and the camera responding so smoothly. The Sony a7 is smooth but not as fast and lacks a touchscreen. You also don't have completely silent lenses from Sony although they really are quiet, just not silent.A few ISO Samples

Sonys a7s, a7r and a7

Sony has announced a 3rd camera, the Sony a7s, in the new a7 series. I thought now would be a good time to briefly highlight the features of all.[gallery ids="4558,4557,4556"]*I only do 4K video when attached to an external recording device. Limited to 1080P when recording to internal (SD memory cards)Sony announced a pair of new alpha series cameras in fall 2013. The a7 and a7r are the smallest most feature packed full frame cameras currently on the market. Because these are mirrorless you don't get an optical viewfinder, rather an EVF or electronic viewfinder. And you have a tiltable LCD screen on the back. The bodies of all three cameras are extremely similar- from a distance or even closer they look identical except for the little r or s next to the 7.Features they share

  • Same sensor size & processor
  • Viewfinder and LCD type and resolution
  • size, battery life and only slight difference in weight less that 25 grams difference between all three.
  • Wifi and slick NFC setup for that Wifi
  • Use SD cards or the Sony Memory Sticks
  • Shutter speed 1/8000 to 1/30 of a second

Despite looking very similar AND sharing the same sensor size there are some significant differences, especially with the latest, the Sony a7s. The a7s is designed for video with some groundbreaking features that provide extremely high quality 4k video. The catch is 4k video can only be recorded via HDMI to an external recorder. Using the SD card you are limited to 1080p. It is a little funny to write "limited to 1080p". Times are changing! That "limited" 1080 provides very highbit rates, up to 50 Megabits/second which translates to very low compression and excellent quality. There is also a 720 mode at 120fps for a nice slow-mo video. Sony also mentioned that the sensor has some smarts that let it adjust the dynamic range for the scene. Focusing mode still relies on contrast detection so nothing like the fancy dual pixel AF that Canon offers in the 70D but the professionals that this cameras is targeted at will mostly use manual focus anyway and zebra display(a visual indicator of sharp focus useful as an aid when manually focusing) is possible through the EVF or LCD. The ISO range offered by the A7s is stunning native ISO to 102,400 and boosted you can reach 409,600. This increased sensitivity does allow impressive low light focusing, so even though it uses contrast detection it can do so very well in very low light situations. The camera is still usable by photographers offering 12MP and 5fps.  Not action orientated numbers but again these shots at high ISO will be very clean.The a7 and a7r are very similar - check the table below for more info. All three use Sony's e-mount lenses which has a fair collection and is growing quite rapidly. Read more about the Sony a7s on B&H

Camera Sony a7 Sony a7r Sony a7s
MP 24 36 12
FPS 5 4 (2.5 fps with focus in between shots) 5 (2.5 fps with focus in between shots)
Video 1920 x 1080 @ 60p, 24p 1440 x 1080 @ 30p, 640 x 480 @ 30p 1920 x 1080 @ 60p, 24p 1440 x 1080 @ 30p, 640 x 480 @ 30p 3840 x 2160 @ 30p, 24p(HDMI OUT) 1920 x 1080 @ 60p,30p, 24p 1280 x 720 @ 120p
# of Focus Points 25 117 117
ISO 100 - 25,600 100 - 25,600 100 - 102,400 (boost 409,600)
Wifi yes yes yes
Battery ife 340 340 380 (320 with EVF)
Price $1698.00 (body) $2298.00 (body) Not yet known

 [gallery ids="4565,4566,4567"]

Sony a series summary: