Four years ago I started out in wedding photography using my Canon 5DIII. In 2015 I switched to the Fuji system using the X-T1 and X100T. These cameras are light and a joy to use. However I could never shake the feeling that I wasn’t happy with the files from the Fuji cameras. They felt dirty, mushy, and I spent way too much time trying to get the colours to look right. Probably with some perseverance I could have gotten better with them but I don’t think it should be like that. So I made the switch to Sony and never looked back. I now shoot with the A7RII and the A7II as a backup.
I love the resolution of the A7RII and using it means I can do my architecture work with this camera as well (albeit with Canon Tilt Shift Lenses) and not have to have two different systems. For lenses I am using the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art (LE-EA3 adapter), 55mm 1.8, and Batis 85mm 1.8. The only thing I miss is a bit of speed with the 35mm so am thinking of switching to the Sony 35mm 1.4 Distagon. The reason I haven’t already is that the Sigma does such a good job already for most things.
When I started to work with the A7RII this year on some loveshoots I noticed straight away that almost straight out of camera I loved the images it produces. The dynamic range is incredible and the colours, in the right light, are simply stunning. Take a look at this image below from a shoot in the late afternoon sun this January in Beomendaal, near Amsterdam.
Update 2017. I have since started using the Zeiss 35 1.4 for better subject tracking.
For some of the images in the selection from the day that you can see here I used some filmic presets that I have made or tweaked from some vsco presets. For other images like this it’s absolutely how it came straight out of the camera. I love this shot and for me there is a film like quality to it. It might just be the light but I just couldn’t have got this from my fuji camera and I might have spent hours trying to get this look when the A7RII delivers it as soon the memory card hits lightroom.
I save so much time in post production with colour grading. The camera suits me, I love the files and I love the colours. Don’t get me wrong, there are some down sides. The camera isn’t exactly fun to use. The menu system is an abomination. Trying to remember where everything is costs me time thinking when I should be shooting. Yes, you can customise the buttons but that’s not enough. Cmon Sony, get someone in to sort this out dammit!
I also find that lightroom is a bit slow when culling images from a wedding which can run into a couple of thousand, and I have a beast of a computer with 32gb Ram and dedicated scratch discs. The files from the A7RII are big but once you get past the images selection process the only downside I have is in the editing: working on portraits particularly. Its great having all that detail in an image file with its 42 megapixels but it’s a bitch to clone skin blemishes. There is so much detail in the skin sometimes that the healing brush or patch just don’t work any more.
A TIP though is that content aware delete does a great job. I find myself using this more and more for removing stray hair from skin as it does such a good job of sampling the adjacent area. I had to do a lot of work to remove the stray hair from the bride’s skin on the image below from this wedding.
People asked me recently about the focusing speed and how it compares to my old Canon 5DIII. The only thing I say is that it blows the Canon away. I don’t shoot sports of course and never did so couldn’t compare it for that. But for what I use it for the A7RII is absolutely magic, especially during a fast paced wedding day. In low light too even with an adapted lens like the Sigma 35mm. The damn thing focuses in the dark.
I use flexible spot most of the time as the Sigma can’t take advantage of some of the tracking modes. My tips for focusing are the to make the flexible spot bigger when the light gets lower. So I normally start off on the small spot in the day time, medium at dusk, and large for the party. With the Sony lenses it’s even better. Looking back on my Fuji days from last year when I couldn’t get the camera to focus in a church I feel so good about using this camera. The Fuji just didn’t cut it. I hear the X-Pro2 has advanced this a lot now but I can’t compare that.
All in all I can’t recommend this system highly enough. At the end of the day it’s just a tool and you have to use whatever suits you. The Sony A7RII definitely suits me. Have a look below at a selection of images from weddings and loveshoots so far this year and keep checking back on the main website HERE to see more as the year progresses.