Saturday, 30 January 2021

Taking the A7II for a Spin

A7II, FE 28-70 OSS

I borrowed my partner's A7II to take on a photo walk today as I ran a couple errands. It's been a while since I used it (it's my second A7II, now passed on) but I wanted to shoot some Full Frame and also wanted something that played better with gloves than my X-T2 does. I had the kit 28-70 lens plus my Nikkor 20/2.8 AF and 105/2.5 AI-S on an adapter.

I was reminded that the A7II is a pretty good camera overall. I'd still rate the X-T2 better in some regards. The X-T2 is faster, has a better EVF and better LCD articulation, and it's weather sealed, but the A7II has better buttons for the gloved user as the chiclet buttons are limited to the back side, the larger C1, C2, and C3 buttons are reasonably glove friendly, and the chiclets are still bigger than the Fuji chiclets. The grip is also more positive than the X-T2, although it definitely suffers in terms of lens/finger clearance as that's minimal on the Sony.

Image quality is better naturally. The bigger sensor gives that and Bayer still converts better than X-Trans. I'll give Fuji the nod in general on colour, but Sony's blues are nicer even if they don't match Nikon's.

 In terms of glass, the 28-70 is average. Not nearly as bad as it's reputation, but not winning any awards either. I think for the cost it's a great lens, and definitely better optically than the E 16-50 PZ, even if the latter lens is wider, longer and a better near-macro shooter. The Fuji 16-50 is a step above all-round, as are the Oly kit lenses.

One nice thing is that it's smart enough to default to Manual Focus mode when no CPU lens is present, on the Fuji's I have to manually set the focus mode to M to get Manual Focus assists. One downside is Sony will give invalid operation errors on things like AF Mode if pressed with a manual focus lens attached.

Breaking out my FF glass after it's been sitting for a few months was nice. The 105/2.5 in particular is just such a great lens and one I don't use enough on the APS-C Fuji's (Hey Fuji, how about a 70/1.8 with rendering like the 'Afghan Girl' Nikkor 105?)

It's always nice to revisit an old camera, especially a competent one. I'm also reminded that I really do love my classic full frame lenses as well.

What does that mean? As usual, I don't know. I'd bet money that I'll buy another Full Frame camera, probably this year at some point. But I'd like to keep using the Fuji's. I really do love the X-T2 for most shooting, I just love it somewhat less when shooting with gloves.

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